Unexpected Complications by Shadowflame
Summary: The run has just begun - but like ever in life there are unexpected complications...

Categories: Post-Escape, Alternate Universe Characters: Agent Alexander Mahone, Agent Paul Kellerman, Aldo Burrows, Brad Bellick, C-Note, Caroline Reynolds, Charles Westmoreland, Debra Jean Belle, Fernando Sucre, Frank Tancredi, Haywire, Hector Avila, Henry Pope, Jane Phillips, John Abruzzi, Lincoln Burrows, LJ Burrows, Maricruz Delgado, Michael Scofield, Nika Volek, Original Character(s), Sara Tancredi, Susan Hollander, Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell, Tweener
Genres: Action/Adventure, Angst, Friendship, Romance
Pairing: Michael and Sara
Warnings: Character Death, Extreme Language, Original Characters, Sexual Situations, Spoilers S2, Work In Progress
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 25 Completed: No Word count: 181179 Read: 28724 Published: May 18, 2008 Updated: March 28, 2009

1. Chapter 1 - Chicago by Shadowflame

2. Chapter 2 - Nikki by Shadowflame

3. Chapter 3 - Old friends by Shadowflame

4. Chapter 4 - The Brothers by Shadowflame

5. Chapter 5 - Treasure Hunt by Shadowflame

6. Chapter 6 - The chase by Shadowflame

7. Chapter 7 - Whereto? by Shadowflame

8. Chapter 8 - Got lost by Shadowflame

9. Chapter 9 - Anywhere else by Shadowflame

10. Chapter 10 - An unequal Team by Shadowflame

11. Chapter 11 - On track by Shadowflame

12. Chapter 12 - Hopes and dreams by Shadowflame

13. Chapter 13 - Screaming Souls by Shadowflame

14. Chapter 14 - Phonecalls / LJ by Shadowflame

15. Chapter 15 - Lifelines by Shadowflame

16. Chapter 16 - Live or die by Shadowflame

17. Chapter 17 - The darkness within by Shadowflame

18. Chapter 18 - On the move - Part 1 by Shadowflame

19. Chapter 19 - On the move - Part II by Shadowflame

20. Chapter 20 - Durango / Rose Creek by Shadowflame

21. Chapter 21 - Another shade of grey by Shadowflame

22. Chapter 22 - Chaos and Aftermath by Shadowflame

23. Chapter 23 - Stormclouds by Shadowflame

24. Chapter 24 - The Calm before the storm by Shadowflame

25. Chapter 25 - Balancing on a knife’s edge – Part 1 by Shadowflame

Chapter 1 - Chicago by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
Ok... I think I have to do it quickly before I loose my courage... *coughs*

In March I had suddenly one scene in my head and couldn't get rid of it - and so I had written a little One Shot - and it became surprisingly more, it has now (looks into Windows) 180 pages so far and is still running... :)

The start may be a little 'woodenly' - I had made the mistake to write the One Shot in german, and I got quickly distressed in trying to translate it into english.

But I got help from my husband, Alex - who had much fun helping me and laughed much about it... *rollseyes* ;) But - without his help I would have given in, I'm sure!

And I think I'm a little more used to write in english now, and thanks to my first loyal readers I'm now a little more self-confident then in the beginning. :)

Thanks to Nikki for being my Beta, without your help I wouldn't dare to post it...

And thanks to my loyal readers so far and their encouragment: Nikki, Yenneffer & Emma *hugs* You're the best! :)

So... *looks very nervous around* ...to cut a long story short:
I hope you will enjoy it!
Unexpected Complications

Chicago

********************

He was moody.

This job sucked, and he shouldn’t even be here… Here at this petty place. A total ordinary overcrowded shopping mall.

Normally he plays in the upper league. He was one of the best.

But since her professional advancement he was only an… an annoying relic - being pushed around by the guy who replaced him. The man was right where he should be - by her side…

“Damn!” he grimaced – he had to stop this.

This pondering over and over wouldn’t get him his old job back.

The nasty pressure of a small transmitter and a muted clicking noise in his ear brought him perfectly back into reality,

"Here’s everything clearly so far, they’re just ordering their meals!" echoed Nigel’s voice indistinctly over the transmitter.

“Just watch out - make sure you‘re not spotted!” the final words were uttered and it was silent again.

Paul raised his right arm and spoke only one word into the small microphone hidden there. “Yup!” focusing his seablue eyes on the man he was supposed to observe.

He had a full view of the thai-restaurant from his seat here in the Starbucks on the other side of the street without being spotted by anyone. He chose this place intentionally because he had ran into some people across the way already and they couldn’t recognize him - this would put the whole mission in jeopardy.

Timothy Irons, an aspiring politician, was having a meeting with some investors willing to backup his election run.

The company was also interested in this man, hence why the observation was very important. Irons and his “business-partners” were eavesdropped on, of course.

Paul sighed. Suddenly he felt like he was being watched.

In an blink of an eye every thought about his personal mess was buried deep inside him and the cool professionality took place again. He put down his Frappucino and reached for his briefcase, pulling out a pen and his appointment scheduler. This gave him time to scrutinise the Coffeeshop inconspicuously.

There was not much going on at the moment. Two employees were working behind the counter, serving their customers needs. The aromatic smell of fresh made coffee hung in the air and the sizzling of frothed up milk entwined with the noise of a mixer in which ice was reduced to small pieces to be served with the next frappucinos.

3 people were queuing up, and several tables were used. A couple was babbling in the far side corner, 2 Men were reading newspapers and 2 girls were laughing and trading secrets behind their hands, probably talking about these guys which they wanted to date at this weekend at some party.

Paul smirked a bit to himself and shifted his eyes back to the window and his scheduler.

Doing so he stretched himself a bit and moved his head slowly around to ease his neck and took another examination of the room without attracting attention.

And then he saw her.....

She stood at the counter, waiting for her cappuccino, taking the opportunity of checking him out more closely.

This young woman, probably around 27 years of age, was dainty, not to say diminutive.

She had a creamy skin and her curly hair was short, but not too short. The curls marked a delicate face from where soft blue eyes twinkled at him whimsically.

First he was a bit puzzled at her blunt gaze, but than he returned her look and she smiled openly. He had to admit: her smile was impressive.

As she turned away from him, to pick up her cappuccino and to pay, he felt a strange feeling in the gut – he was disappointed somewhat.

Surprised by himself, frowning, he shook his head a bit.... What was wrong with him?

He wasn’t here for fun, he should observe Irons.

Paul sighed almost faintly and turned to look again through the toned windows in the direction to the men in suits, who had just got their meals served at that very moment.

They laughed about something Irons had said and then laid eyes on their meals.

“May I?” there was a smooth voice right next to him . Paul – totally fixed on the events happening in the restaurant across the street - quivered and almost made for his gun, located in his holster at his knuckle.

He raised his gaze – and his seablue eyes met a pair of lazuline eyes which would draw him into their depths.

He was able to divert his gaze from those lovely eyes with the greatest effort, only to look into the incredibly beautiful face of the young woman. She was amused, raising an eyebrow, still waiting for an answer.

Trying to apologise, Paul jumped up and offered a chair next to him, cursing himself for this.

What was wrong with him today? Usually he wasn’t that tipped by women, and damn – he had a job to do, regardless of how unwanted this job was.

He was supposed to seize her and send her away – what was he doing instead ?

He was acting like a dumb schoolboy who had lost both his tongue and his brain.

As the foreign woman sat down and he readied her chair, he felt silky strains of her hair on his hand and he felt electrified... there was a sensation which made his tiny hairs stand on end.

He sat down and followed her small, slender hand with a gaze. The hand stroked a red blonde strain of hair away from her eyes, only to have him sink into those eyes again....

Tediously he rid himself of this sight and recognized that she actually talked to him, because she looked at him waiting for an answer.

He cleared his throat trying to get back to the present and asked her: “Excuse me? I am sorry, I didn’t get you” and he felt like an idiot.

She chuckled and meant: “ Oh no, please don’t tell me that my Brit-Speak is this bad that you wouldn’t understand me.” And her eyes flashed mischievous in his direction, so he was not able to do anything else, except laughing and adding: “No. Of course not – I was only .. erhm... distracted.”

She took a sip from her cappuccino, smiled and fancied: “ I am relieved.. I said my name is Nikki and would it be possible that you help me?”


*****************

Paul wasn’t sure. Should he help her? Hell, yes.. and it didn’t matter what kind of help she needed. He was bewildered as he realised he would help her no matter what.

How could this small person have such an influence on him? He couldn’t quite understand, but before he could get to the bottom of his thoughts he surprised himself by responding, “But of course... how can I help you, Nikki ?

And again he tried to make eye-contact with her.

She looked back at him, and then – as she could see something in his blue eyes – a gentle colouring grew on her cheeks and her eyelashes covered her beautiful eyes shyly.

“For starters-You could give me your name.”

“Paul – my name is Paul” he hurried to say, and he was rewarded with her nice laughter.

“Paul.. Okay” she said softly, and smiled at him.

“Paul, I am new to this neighbourhood and wanted to meet with my girlfriend, but she called to tell me there was a family-emergency and she couldn’t make it. And there I am, an English girl alone in the middle of Chicago and I am in no mood to spend the evening on my own... and”
She turned pink and looked quite a bit nervous and lost and hurried on: ”…and when I saw you, I took a chance and wanted to ask if you would join me for the evening?”

She bit her bottom-lip and with a few seconds delay, she raised her head and looked at him a bit uncertain, the remains of a blush still visible on her beautiful face.

At first Paul didn’t know what in heavens name he was supposed to say – he wasn’t a wallflower for sure, but it didn’t happen every day that you were asked by such a beautiful woman. And, despite himself, his conscience rebelled in the background: “...and especially not when you`re supposed to be observing someone!.”

At the delay in Paul’s reply, Nikki’s cheeks got more pink than before and she said softly,

“Well, usually I have a good intuition for Humans and I had the impression that you would be a nice and honourable Guy and that’s why I talked to you in the first place.”

Paul, trying to divert his attention from Nikki’s perfect lips, drank a bit from his frappuccino, almost choking on it.
Nice? Honourable? Him? The guy that had not one, but many names. The guy who had taken the lives of many people in the name of the Government.

He could feel that he was starring at her with his mouth wide open and he shut his mouth immediately.

“Have I been wrong about you, Paul?” Nikki asked with such a silent voice, so he had trouble understanding her.

Again receiving no answer she nodded to herself, grabbed her handbag and stood up in a fluent motion.

“I am sorry for disturbing you.”

Nikki turned away, shaking him out of his stupor and he reached out, grabbed her hand - and gently held her back.


*****************

At the very moment their hands met, it felt as if a spark jumped from Nikki to Paul. He gasped for air.

It looked as if Nikki felt the same way as her breath came in light pants. Their gazes were drawn to each other like magnets and each sank into the eyes of the other, delicate spring-blue drowning in crystal clear sea-blue.

It felt to both of them as if this moment would last for all eternity. Neither of them said anything, neither moved their hand away, neither moved at all... They were drawn to each other, absorbing each others sight enjoying the sudden tension in the air.

Then it was like the two were awaking from a long, deep dream – Nikki blinked, and pulled back her hand from his long, slender fingers, only to bite herself slightly again on the bottom lip - a sign of her insecurity, he noticed.

Her breathing was a bit faster as normal and he noticed that he himself was out of sync with the breathing.

He cleared his throat, looked quickly through the window in the direction of Irons, seeing the company of people still having their lunch and turned back to Nikki.

After that a very enjoyable talk arose between the two of them and – as he admitted to himself - Paul enjoyed it.

He glanced repeatedly across to the thai-restaurant, but he only saw that the circle now had switched to desserts.

Nikki was a very interesting woman. She worked for an international freight company and seemed to be very competent.

But above that, she was very charming, funny, profound, sexy, timid and so much more – she was multi-facetted and she enchanted him. He was magically drawn to her.

It didn’t take long for her to closed in on Paul, only to show him some pictures on her cellphone – and secretly he took a deep breath to absorb another facet of her. She smelled like Honey and Almonds... a very fine and attractive flavour that intoxicated his senses.

Paul could not let go and secretly watched her over and over again when he had the feeling she was not paying attention.

How could there be so much power in such a tiny person?

How would it be if she..... He forcefully shook the image of her, lying between soft pillows in a big bed, out of his head as a rustle and clicking noise sounded in his ear, pulling him immediately back to reality.


*****************

Nigel’s voice, sounding stressed, came in through static clicking,

“Spark to Flame.... Spark to Flame – it’s getting hot out there!”

Paul gazed swiftly through the window to the restaurant – and he felt cold and hot at the same time as he realized that the company of people were getting ready to leave. Even worse, two guys - who he knew - were heading right to the entrance of the Coffee Shop.

“Damn it!” Paul snapped between gritted teeth and desperately thought about what he could do now – there was no newspaper lying on the table behind which he could have hide himself and it was far too long to the restrooms for him to get there without being seen.

There was no way he could hide now. It was too late. He had grounded the mission, Kim would be very angry and that could cost him his head.

Nikki, surprised by Paul’s startled behaviour, watched him for a few seconds baffled, watching how the incredibly fascinating seablue eyes narrowed and searched the room - only to stop at her face.

“What’s up?”

Nikki questioned him as he grabbed her, pulled her over – and kissed her...

******************

She was surprised at first, but as the pleasurable feelings took over she allowed the kiss. She allowed Paul to explore her lips and then her mouth...

Her thoughts fell into chaos. All “ifs”, “whats” and “nos” shot through her head but were immediately pushed aside due to the feelings the kiss gave her. She didn’t think anymore, she only felt... and what she felt was incredible.

She pulled back, breathless, but his big hands would not let go – gently he cupped her face, stroking through her silky hair and pulling her closer for another scorching kiss...

Nigel, back in Paul’s ear, asked,

“What the hell are you doing?” But Paul didn’t care if there were some people who could recognize him as a government agent only half a metre away from him - and they only had to turn to see him, but he really didn’t care! He didn’t care what they would think, he didn’t care what Nigel would think. Nothing else mattered, only this moment, this kiss, this woman.

It had been a long time since he felt as alive as he did in that moment.

As he didn’t have any possibility of escape, he realised that Nikki would be his only cover, the only opportunity to attract attention but not get recognized. That’s why he chose to do this, at least that was what he told himself.

But to hold her, feel her, smell her and taste her – that was so much more than he could endure – it was like being sucked into a vortex, into a deep, dark hole and he didn’t want to end it..

Nikki looped her arms around his neck, pulling him closer, deepening the kiss, allowing it to get more heartfelt, even hotter. He could feel the heat of her body against his, now soft and willingly. He tasted her tongue, exploring playfully against his own.

As they pulled back from each other, their faces slightly red, sharing their sudden embarrassment at their loose of control. Nikki’s hair was messy, her eyes shimmering from the shared feelings. Just as they parted, the door closed behind the businessmen and Paul knew they were heading for the underground garage.

At the desk next to them, the two teenagers were staring at Paul and Nikki, mouths wide open. Paul could not resist a leer in their direction.

Nikki was still sitting next to him, her breath coming in rapid gasps. Her cheeks were still glowing and her lazuline eyes were shining as she starred at him like she had seen Brad Pitt as flesh and blood.

Nigel insisted that Paul hurry up and he knew if he was to save the mission, he had to act now.

He pulled a napkin from the table, grabbed his ball-pen out of his pocket and wrote his mobile number on the napkin.

After that, he stood up, bowed down to Nikki who was looking up at him with huge wide eyes, and took her face tenderly in his big hands, leaning in and placing a gentle kiss on her full lips once more.

“Call me, Sweetie.. Unfortunately I have to go, now.”

He grabbed his briefcase and made two steps before making a split second decision. He turned around again to give her a last kiss, now hard and demanding, letting his tongue dance in her mouth.

For a last time, his seablue eyes merged with hers, and the last words Nikki heard were,

”Promise... call me?”

Then the door closed and he was gone...

Nikki was left behind, totally stunned with burning lips, longing desire and many people gazing at her, the smooth hands still holding on to the napkin on which Paul’s number was written....

******************
End Notes:
Well... that was the little One Shot... :)
Surprisingly it got so much more... and maybe I should mention that everything after that is written immediately in english, so that I don't have the problem again to write first in german and than to have to translate it all...
Thanks again for Nikki, always reading through it to even things out... :)
Chapter 2 - Nikki by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
Ok, from now on I had written directly in english, and that was much better... :)
I think the difference is palpable, but see yourself...
Thanks for reading!
***********
Nikki
***********

Nikki sat in Starbucks in shock. Her breathing coming in hard gasps, her eyes wide, staring unseeing into the distance.

She still felt his tongue in her mouth, still smelt his aftershave, still tasted him – but her senses betrayed her for he was gone.

Paul had left a few seconds before and her eyes wandered to the just closed doors. There was no sign of him.

Nikki felt bereft somehow. Bereft of what she asked herself confused, wrinkling her forehead whilst trying to follow her thoughts.

He was gone.

She ran the napkin softly through her fingers, seeing his number written on it.

Should she?

Suddenly all the noises around her echoed back loudly and she glanced startled around, taking in the strangers staring at her.

She jumped at her feet, grabbed her handbag in one smooth movement and jolted out of the door.



*********************

Which way? Which way would he have gone?

She closed briefly her eyes and recalled his last words, “Call me, Sweetie. Unfortunately I have to go now.”

He was in a rush. And she couldn't imagine Paul waiting at the bus station, so he must be at the underground garage on the way to his car!

Turning on her heels Nikki sprinted to the elevators, hurriedly making her way down the mall, barely avoiding a collision or two with other shoppers.

At the elevators she was rewarded with the sight of Paul, talking to a short, stubby man with glasses and pressing the lowest button, before the doors closed.

“Damn it!” she muttered under her breath, and came to stop in front of the lifts.

Watching the lights above the three cabins she realized that two of them were heading up to higher levels, and the one with Paul inside was going down to the underground floors.

With a deep sigh she turned to the stairway and literally flew down the stairs, panting heavily as she finally reached the door to the lowest level.

A sudden instinct told her to cool down and to open the door cautiously.

She drew some deep breaths, tucked a cheeky strain of her messy hair behind her ear and slowly opened the door.



*********************

She peered through the small opening gap, and caught sight of a dark grey SUV with mirrored glass, parked with back doors in her direction. Paul and the other man were standing before the car, obviously in a heated discussion.

“What the heck were you doing in there, Paul? Kissing some little bleep instead of doing your work – are you crazy? If Mr. Kim comes to know that…” the short man hissed to Paul, but was rudely disrupted by the angry voice of Paul,

“First: don’t call her a bleep! Second: if you leep you filthy mouth shut Kimmie will never now! And third: what’s the matter – we have what we needed, Irons will do what the company want him to do…”

With this words Paul opened the back doors of the SUV and Nikki bit her lips in afford to avoid making a noise of surprise – the SUV was filled with electronical, blinking stuff and – her eyes widened with horror – with weapons, in different shapes and sizes, meticulously strung together at one side of the SUV.

Paul removed his coat, revealing a broad chest in a snow white shirt and with the help of the other guy – who was now red headed and angry – they removed a string and a little electronic device from Paul and in a final step a little gizmo from Pauls ear.

Nikki’s chin dropped at her chest, and tears stung in her eyes. What the heck – who was this guy? What had he done in there – and who was this “Irons”?

Whilst all these thoughts were shooting through her brain Paul's cellphone rang, he held it up to his ear and listened without talking before slamming the phone shut and spat out,

“Damn, that bleepard Kimmie wants me to catch that little chick – somehow she had managed to escape Landon and somehow the hit on her has ended with the death of a pedestrian. She’s still running and now I need to go fix it!”

Turning at his heels he shot a direct glance towards where Nikki was hiding.



*********************

Nikki felt a jolt of fear, she was so sure that he had spotted her, but there was no sign of it in his face, only anger, and then he headed for the drivers seat of the SUV, starting the engine whilst the other guy closed the back doors and joined him in the passenger seat.

Nikki closed the door completely and with suddenly weary and shaky legs she barely managed to sit down on the dirty stairs.

Her brain felt numb, a thousand thoughts running amok and, as she felt hot liquid running across her cheeks, she buried her head in her hands and cried bitter tears about her own stupidity and her silly feelings of betrayal and hurt.



*********************

It was several minutes later that she made her way to a restroom, head lowered so that no one could see her red eyes and blurred make up.

She opened the door and peered inside – thanks to God it was empty.

She stepped in and made her way to the mirrors, and was taken aback at the sight of herself.

Looking at her pale, tear stained face with the puffy red eyes she could only shake her head at herself.

Whilst splashing cold water at her hot face she thought about what had happened to her over the last days.


***Flashback***

She had got the promotion for which she had worked so hard, and that meant to leave her life, her family and friends in England behind and to pack up and move to Chicago in only two weeks.

She had immediately called her friend in Chicago and was assured she could live with her until she found her own place.

The two weeks had flown by, and before she could blink she stood with her luggage - the rest of her belongs to be sent to her once she settled - at the airport in London and waved her family goodbye.

She had been so excited, so happy to move to Chicago to be near her best friend just like they always had envisioned as little girls.

But on her arrival at Chicago, her friend was not there to pick her up from the airport.

All efforts to reach her friend ended in talking to a lifeless answering machine and because her friend had just moved to be closer at her work she had no idea where to go. She thought about going to see her friend's father but that would have felt awkward. Although Frank had always been a close friend of her father, the death of Frank's wife had strained their friendship and she wasn't sure she would be welcome.

So she ended up in a hotel in downtown Chicago.

She had been there for two days before she finally had reached her friend but instead of a happy greeting and an apology for not picking her up, she had sounded strange. Sad and - Nikki thought she was surely imagining it - hunted? With a hushed and unsteady voice she suggested this mall to meet up with Nikki, blocking all questions about what has happened.

Well, Nikki had arrived in time but as her cellphone rang she was barely able to understand the message left on the voicemail. Once again her friend let her down but her voice had been so tearful and shaking that Nikki was more upset about not being able to be there for her, instead of being angry at being left alone.

***End of Flashback***



That was when she decided it was time for a cappuccino. That was when she met this amazing man with this stunning seablue eyes. That was when she was bold, for the first time in her life, and asked a man out – a complete stranger!

Nikki took a deep breath and glanced critically at her face in the mirror. She used a papertowel to dry it, and started to apply make up again.

As she stuffed her make up back in her handbag her eyes fell on the napkin with Paul’s number on it.

With a sigh she caressed the napkin with her thumb, grabbing it to throw it away… but… she couldn’t.

Shaking her head she thought about all she knew of him: He was a big, broad chested guy with tanned skin, with unbelievable seablue eyes and a slight ironic smile she could die for… He looked really good… more than good… He smelled good… and – now she blushed – damn - he tasted good… She felt her heart starting to race, and a twitch of desire in her stomach.

Nikki shook herself out of reverie, and forced herself to bring up the other points in her little list:

He was not what she believed he was - he seemed to be a dangerous guy. He had met up with a suspicious looking man, they headed for the underground garage. There was the more suspicious looking SUV with all the odd electronics in it and – MOST suspicious and scary of all – loaded full with different weapons.

Nikki gulped.

And he was wired up with a strange device… He had done a strange job in the mall… concerning a person called Irons?

It sounded like they had gathered information from that man to – what? To blackmail him? So that this Irons “will do what the company want him to do”?

Pauls cold voice still rang in her ears.

And – the final and worst point – what Paul had said about that “chick”, the woman he should find… it had sounded like he had to finish the work for another ominous man… to kill that woman who had managed to escape.

Nikki looked at the young woman in the mirror, and the young woman looked back with big, pale blue and terrified eyes, too big in her pale face.

She sighed sadly, tears shone in her eyes.

No… she would not call him back… he was a bad man… God knows what bad situation her own surprising boldness had almost bought to her, but she had to stop it now, before it got out of hand.

Finding strength in this decision she walked out of the restroom, called a Taxi and headed back to her Hotel.



*********************

She was so tired, she only wanted to fall in her bed and forget how strange her life was at the moment.

But just as she closed the door of her hotel room behind her, her cell phone rang.

She picked it up, and stand stock-still as she heard the heartbreaking sobs of her best friend on the other end.

“N-nikki?” Sara's voice echoed down the line as an ice cold hand of fate grabbed at Nikki, sending shocks through her spine…

“Please, help me… s-somebody must help me… ”
End Notes:
Please let me know what you think! :)
Chapter 3 - Old friends by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
Thanks for all the nice reviews so far! :)
Means a lot... ;)
************************
Old friends
************************

Sara snuggled up into the passenger seat of the grey Sedan with an exhausted sigh, and stared wide eyed into the flushing citylights of a neversleeping Chicago.

It was the first time since this morning that she felt warm and a little safe.

She closed her eyes, again fighting against the now ever present tears…

Her life had been splintered into a thousand shards - with no way to get it fixed again.

“Are you alright?” Nikki asked her with deep concern, glancing over to Sara, and biting her bottom lip.

Sara nodded and answered quietly, “Yes… thanks to you…”.

Nikki was worried about Sara’s soundless voice but much more about Sara’s physical appearance. She was so thin, had definitely lost too much weight in too short time, was very pale, had deep dark circles around her usually bright amber eyes - now clouded and nearly black eyes - and her glance was unsteady and broken.

Since Sara’s phone call she had a very busy night, and now they were leaving Chicago just a few minutes past 2 a.m.



***Flashback Nikki – Part 1***
-------------------------------

“N-nikki?” Sara's scared and trembling voice cut deep into Nikki’s heart. “Please, help me… s-somebody must help me… ”

Nikki stood scared and petrified, trying to bring some sense into the chaotic story Sara was trying to tell between her whimpering sobs.

Her thoughts raced and it was impossible to get through this mess of information, so she did the only thing what might help – she disrupted Sara harshly and startled her, broke her out of her misery: “For god’s sake - shut up and listen!” bawled she through the line.

With a sudden gasp for air there was silence on the other end.

Now again with her own soft voice Nikki started to talk: “That’s better, Sar. Listen to me: I think it’s better we meet up. It will take me a little time, but I want you to do exactly what I’m about to tell you, okay?”

“Y-yes” whispered Sara.

“Its fine, Hunny. Do you remember the place where I dropped my ice cream and stained my blue dress? I want you to go to this place. I will get you there. We will work it out, ok? It will all be good, I promise…” she said, soothingly talking to Sara like to a fearful little girl.

“You know which place I mean?”

“u-huh” echoed it through the line.

Nikki made a little noise of relief,

“Ok, and now something very important: get rid of your cell phone – NOW. I don’t know what’s up, but the little I have understood is that you were followed, right? Well, if there is one thing I’ve learned from the Thrillers I always read - you have to get rid of your phone! Ok?”

“Oh my god… y-yes… I will throw it away.” Sara answered with panic.

“That’s fine, Sar. I will find you. Go to that special place, and wait there for me. Please take care, wont you?” Nikki replied worringly.

“I’ll go n-now” were the last words through this phone, than Sara was gone.

And Nikki sprung into action…



***Flashback Nikki – Part 2***
------------------------------

First she called at the information service and noted down a few numbers of Car Rentals.

Second she grabbed her travelling bag, tipped everything out onto the bed in a pile, then gathered all the things that might be useful and stuffed them back.

Then she lifted up the bag and left the room without looking back.

She went down and discarded her own cell phone in the lobby, left the hotel, went immediatley to the bank straight ahead and drew all the money available at her account.

A few streets from here she had spotted a fashion-discounter. She entered and bought some cheap baseball caps, jeans, hoodies, tops, t-shirts, underwear and a warm coat for Sara – she knew Sara’s size and she was sure she would be thankful for a change of clothes.

Her next stop was at a drugstore, she bought some toiletries, a first aid-kit, two prepaid mobile phones, a few bottles of water and several packs of cookies.

Then she fetched a Taxi and drove to the nearest car rentals at her list.

There she rented a red Honda, and finally she was on her way to find Sara.

And she remembered that day where she had that little accident with the ice-cream cone.



***Flashback Nikki – Part 3***
------------------------------

She thought back to that day. She and Sara had both worn beautiful summer dresses and were pretty proud Nikki’s elder brother was taking both out for a ice cone. They were giggling and enjoying themselves as Steven parked the car in the inner city and hand in hand they followed him to that hidden little place in a park at the river.

It was a very hot but windy summer day and had so much fun – until Nikki dropped her cone on herself. She was so miserable, looking with tears in her eyes at the sprawled ice at the bottom, then at her stained dress. Sara just hugged her and gave her without a word her own cone…



***Flashback Nikki – Part 4***
------------------------------

With a sigh and a little smile she spotted a free space for her car and stopped the engine.

She shivered in the icy wind, and took the coat out of the bag, and moved – carried from her memories – to that little park.

She frowned… she had not thought that the park at night would not be the best idea, she only wanted to name a place Sara would remember and could reach without problems, but which no potential eavesdropper was possible to know.

Hesitantly she stood there, here eyes were moving through the dark, her stomach knotted in discomfort, and just as she readied herself to enter the park she suddenly felt that she was no longer alone, she felt another presence hidden in the shadows right behind her!



***Flashback Nikki – Part 5***
-------------------------------

Terrified she turned at her heels, just in time to catch the long frame of a sobbing Sara, breaking down on her and she wrapped her in her arms…

“Sshhhh, hey, hunny – there’s no time now. Here – slip into this” she helped her trembling and ice cold friend into the coat “and then come, we can talk later…”

With slightly shaking knees Nikki led Sara to the car, and quickly they drove off.

“Sweetie, we have to do something before we leave Chicago, ok? We drive now to another Car Rental, and change the car. You go get freshened up. I’ve bought you some clothes, I hope they will fit you but you’re so much skinnier than I remember you. Then we will leave… and on our way out of town I want you to tell me everything what has happened, ok?”

Nikki’s voice was so full of concern, that again Sara had to fight off the tears she felt pooling in her amber eyes.

Half an hour later they arrived at the Car Rental out in the suburbs of Chicago.

Nikki handed Sara a baseball cap and some new clothes in a bag, and both they left the car and entered the little office.

Whilst Nikki completed the paperwork Sara rushed into the restroom and changed herself into the fresh clothes, washed her puffy face and stared with dead eyes at her blurred image in the mirror.

Sara jumped out of her skin as suddenly the door opened and Nikki peeked around the corner,

“Hun, come on… we have to go!” Nikki insisted, and Sara grabbed her bag and followed her to the new car, a grey Sedan.

“Here are the keys, get in and follow me… we will drive to the other side of Chicago and will abandon the Honda. Then we will drive south-west, and you can tell me all. Is that ok, Hunny?” asked Nikki with another worried look at her devastated friend. “Can you do it?”

Sara nodded again, and got into the Sedan. She started the engine, and followed Nikki’s Honda for in about an hour.

They drove off the street at an old, discharged industrial park, and stashed the Honda behind loads of trash.

Then – finally – they entered the Sedan, starting out on their journey without having a goal.

***End of Flashback Nikki***



*****************************
*****************************

Suddenly Nikki remembered the water bottles and cookies she had bought.

She reached with one hand back to the bags at the rear seats, took the water and a box of cookies and handed them over to Sara.

“Eat and drink Sar, you look terrible.” She demanded with a voice that left no doubts that she would stop and feed Sara personally if she didnt eat.

With a sly smile Sara opened the bottle and with her first mouthful of water she realized how thirsty she was, gulping down half the bottle at once.

After that she ripped the box of cookies open and gorged on them with a nearly ravenous appetite, licking the crumbs from her fingers.

Then a deep-drawn sigh escaped her lips and, for the first time a real smile – small and hurt, but a smile – touched her lips and lit up her eyes as she turned to Nikki, stroked Nikki’s soft cheek and said,

“Thank you… thank you for being here for me, for helping me, without knowing… I mean… without… uuh… Nikki… you have no idea, into what I have drawn you… I… I’m not sure about it myself… I…”

Nikki held up one hand, and stopped Sara in mid-sentence.

Sara looked at her, and Nikki said,

"Sar, I’m your friend, you know that and if you need help, I’m here for you, without ifs and buts…”

She quickly removed her eyes from the dark street, and glanced over to Sara, who nodded at her words.

“Please – start at the beginning, Hunny… I wanna understand what’s up, so please – start at the beginning, ok?” she asked with a soft voice, and as she realized the shadow which seemed to cover immediately Sara’s eyes, she knew, it would be bad…

With a trembling voice Sara started to tell…



***Flashback Sara – Part 1***
-----------------------------

The last two weeks had been the worst of her life.

She had never thought that this could be possible, after all she had been through in her life.

But – it seemed – she could always fall deeper, deeper and harder…

Her loveless childhood had only been lightened with the visits of the old friend of her father – Peter Tyler and his family.

This are the times she would always remember… the usually big and lifeless house was suddenly full of life. Her father would be at home and good tempered, her mother would drink less than usual and would be laughing and having a good time, too.

And there was Nikki…

Nikki was slightly younger than Sara and completely different. She was tiny, had wonderful pale blue eyes, red cheeks, an infectious laughter and was always full of energy and fun, always bouncing around and mischievous.

Sara was long, thin, with a porcelain skin, often ill, shy and very introverted.

They had been like fire and water – and they were inseparable from the first moment on, as long as the holidays lasted.

Nikki always called her Sar and somehow that nickname stuck. If anybody else had dared to shorten her name that way Sara would have gone mad - Nikki was the only one who was allowed to call her that. Actually Sara liked it very much because Nikki shortened only the names of people she loved.

When Nikki was back in England they wrote letters and phoned as often as they were allowed.

As the constitution of her mother got worse, Frank – Sara’s father – locked her up in Rehab, got a governess for Sara and withdrew from his old friend, only concentrating on his political career. But Sara and Nikki didn't let go.



***Flashback Sara – Part 2***
-----------------------------

Some years later after her mother died her father broke contact with everyone. Not only to the Tyler’s but completely blocked Sara out of his life.

Sara, who through all the days of her life had fought for the acceptance and love of her father felt like a buoy alone in a stormy sea, left alone and bereft in a deadly storm.

She had been in the middle of her senior year of high school and the stress and pressure of the loss of her mother and father had been to much for her to bear.

She couldn’t eat, she couldn’t sleep, she was terrified, lost and alone. She was weak… she was bait for the Candyman who always had a certain eye for broken souls in times of stress and strain.

Sara started with sleeping pills to avoid nightmares, to be able to sleep… to be able to learn….

But before long they were followed by caffeine pills so she could keep up with her coursework.

She graduated the best of her age-group.

At university she was able to get it under control. At first. But towards the end the pressure increased again and she had more and more fights with her father, who disagreed with the path she had chosen. Daily it was harder for her to remain strong-minded, not to give in into addiction

Somehow she managed for a second time and was awarded a glorious university degree.



***Flashback Sara – Part 3***
-----------------------------

Her career as a doctor started as rough as for all young doctor’s. Too many hours on the feet, too little sleep, too much stress, too much competition. It was bearable because she wanted to help people, she loved to be with them – she loved to be a doctor, to fix things.

And then… this little boy… Tobias… he died. She was not able to help him, his big eyes were so full of trust in her, but she lost him. And that took her over the edge.

She started again with Sleeping Pills, but ended up with morphine.

Wrong friends, too many drugs… she was living on the fast track. And she lost it. Lost it badly.

Three years ago she had been so high that she wasn’t able to rescue a kid at the street, injured in a car accident.

That opened her eyes. For the first time she could see where she was, what she had become – and it scared the crap out of her.

Immediately she broke up with her “friends” and started a therapy.



***Flashback Sara – Part 4***
-----------------------------

It was hard work, but she managed to regain her life and got a fresh start as a doctor in the Fox River Penitentiary.

And she was content with it. Somehow. Not really.

She was busy at work, she worked overtime… She took work at home… but – there was nothing left in her life beside her work.

No family, no friends… not even Nikki.

It was not Nikki’s fault, but Sara had withdrawn as her drug abuse got heavy because she felt she was contaminating the perfect world of Nikki with her own, vile presence.

They had of course phoned once or twice since Sara had been clean but Sara never managed to pluck up the courage to tell Nikki about her problems.

She got used to her routines… she told herself it was ok. But it wasn’t.

She was hollow. By day she was functioning. By night she refused to eat and cried herself to sleep. That was no life at all - but she moved on.



***Flashback Sara – Part 5***
-----------------------------

And then, one day… HE came into her well arranged world. Michael Scofield. With his enchanting, eloquent turquoise-green eyes. With these eyes, which could in the blink of an eye turn from sparkling turquoise into hard steel-blue coldness. And all her carefully arranged walls came tumbling down.

She fell for him from the very first second - she lost her heart.

How much, she tried to deny this from herself, but during the riots, as Michael risked his life to save hers, as he helped her down from the ceiling, she was lost in the depth of his eyes. And if they had not been interrupted she knew she would have kissed him.

From that moment, she was once again in the arms of a new addiction - Michael.

And like every addiction it ended badly: she lost herself in him, the “drug” maimed her and left her more hollow and alone then ever.

He had only used her, he had made her fall for him, to gain her help in breaking out his brother.

And that was all… end of the line.

As he kissed her in the infirmary she knew it… she had sensed - no - she had confirmed with that kiss that he just needed her for something.

Nevertheless she had done it, knowing that she was only used by him, that she was only “the key” in his plan.

But for the love she felt, for this burning fire in her heart and for her longing to do one damn thing right in her useless life – to help an innocent man – she had done what he asked from her.

It broke her heart, but she opened the infirmary door for him and his brother, well knowing that she would never see him again – she was no longer useful for him.



***Flashback Sara – Part 6***
-----------------------------

That was the very moment when she decided to end it, to end her life.

She took an ampule of morphine and at home she overdosed.

But like everything in her life, she could not do it right.

She not only opened the door for Michael and his innocent brother, but much worse, she survived the overdose.

After regaining consciousness she was faced with her outraged father, was faced with being hit hard by the law, was faced with the fact that she had used again, was faced with the axiomatic fact that she was responsible for the escape of 8 men - two of them some of the worst scum of Fox River: the mobster Abruzzi and the paedophile murderer and rapist Theodore Bagwell.

Without even hearing her point of view her father outlined to his shocked daughter how her life would be from now on, he arranged for her to be released on bail and sent her to detox again.

How could you detox and start to live again when there was nothing worth living for?



***Flashback Sara – Part 7***
-----------------------------

Surprisingly she got a call from Nikki after returning home – that was the first positive thing in month… Nikki had been promoted and was moving to Chicago!

With a little spark of hope in her heart Sara assured Nikki she would help her out until she would find her own place.

Her best friend was coming… no more loneliness. But… what if Nikki didn't like what Sara had become? What if she let her down?

Sara was desperate and frustrated.



***Flashback Sara – Part 8***
-----------------------------

At the meetings she met Lance and made a new friend. She felt better – at least, if she was with him and not alone, he was such a nice guy and as lonely as she.

But her nights… they were worse than ever… every second of every day her body ached for Michael… Her brain replayed all the short moments with him, all those little treasures memorized for eternity… the soft touch of his elegant long fingers at her arm, his hushed voice, his amazing tattoo, his kiss, as he touched her hair and tucked a strain of it behind her ear… his smell… his taste… his eyes… particularly his beautiful eyes…

And again she was weeping until she fell exhausted into sleep, haunted from dreams of him. Most of them sexual, leaving her sweaty and aching and more lonely she thought she could ever be. Some of them terrifying, seeing him run and die in a hail of bullets, die whilst she was trying to help him, dying under her hands.



***Flashback Sara – Part 9***
-----------------------------

Then he called her. On her cell phone. She had been sitting with Lance in the sun, eating blueberry pie and had finally relaxed and was actually having some fun – at this moment her cell phone rang, and it was him. Michael… it tore her apart hearing his voice, he sounded so desperate, so tearful… her heart flew out to him, but she was not able to let go, suddenly she was so angry with him, what he had done to her.

She wanted so much to tell him how much she needed him – but her mouth betrayed her, her pride took over and she told him with a cold voice to leave her alone.

His words “Sara, you and me – it was real” hit her heart and left her wordless, struggling to understand what he was trying to say with this.

And then, soft and gentle: “I love you, Sara…” and the line went dead.

He was gone… her desperate calling out of his name died away unheard in the depth of the cell phone.

He was gone… he had said something about making all of it right and that she had something already in her possession but she really had no idea what he meant and with her new awakened misery and longing for him, she really didn’t care. Her mind only played his last words to her again and again…

She had received some origami cranes with numbers on them – she was sure they were from Michael but she was not able to make sense of them. But it didn't matter. She put them into her handbag, to have them near when she needed them… She needed to touch them, again and again. Like the rose she had got from him.



***Flashback Sara – Part 10***
------------------------------

The days flew by and it came close to Nikki’s arrival.

A strange but wonderful thing happened that Sara started to get closer with her father, after all these years… and it felt good.

His sudden call to stay away from Lance - that her friend Lance was not who he pretended to be hit her like a storm and in panic she fled him, refusing to see him again.

After this, she received several phone calls from her dad, all mysterious and with strange warnings. Telling her to stay away from Lance but her father answered none of her questions. He stayed ominously quiet but insisted every time that he needed to see her as soon as possible to talk to her personally after his return to Chicago in two days.

This left her so confused and scared she actually forgot that she was due to pick up Nikki from the airport. She simply forgot.

As she finally got a message from Nikki two days later she felt so terrible, and arranged a meeting with her at the mall.

But she was so curious and agitated that she decided first to meet up with her father to try to clear up the mysterious phone calls, only to hear through his office that her father had been political outplayed.

In horror she drove to her father’s place – and there she found him… dangling from the door, with twisted eyes and a swollen, big blue tongue hanging out of his mouth.

All her desperate attempts to recusitate him were without success: she had lost her father. After finally finding a way back into his heart, she lost him.

She had a breakdown… She couldn’t think clearly. All she knew for sure that her father NEVER would commit suicide. NEVER.

Finally she grabbed her handbag and a strange key that had seemed to have fallen from her father's pocket and left the house, still sobbing. In her car she suddenly remembered Nikki, waiting for her in the mall. So she called her and cancelled the meeting.

She sensed that Nikki was not upset with her, but rather that she was very concerned and wanted to know what was wrong but she couldn't tell her. Right now she wasn't able to speak.

She ended the call as soon as possible and fled back home. She was shocked as she found supplies for drugs and a full morphine-bottle at her desk. Whilst standing in shock, a stranger entered the room.

Sara immediately realized what it all meant: her death. Now. Set up as suicide. Just like her father.

But they reckoned without her strength. All the pent-up anger and fear of the last weeks took over and she fought for her life – fought and won – and than she ran…



***Flashback Sara – Part 11***
------------------------------

She ran through that cold, windy day with only a brown, long-sleeved top and her handbag. She was lost and in trouble with nowhere to go to. She ran without destination.

Finally she found a public telephone and decided to call Bruce, a dear friend of her father and ask for help.

Even that went wrong. Whilst waiting for him to fetch her, a car came up with squealing tires and a young woman, similar looking to Sara, who just walked by and flashed an estranged look at her – got shot. Just like that. There she was, young, nice, breathing – and in a second her life was blown out like a candle.

The car took off, and Sara tried to help that woman – but it was to late…

Fully aware of what happened and why it had happened, Sara looked paralyzed down at the dead woman… it should have not been this poor woman lying dead in the streets – it should have been her… these bullets were for her and now an innocent woman was dead. Just because Sara had decided to fight for her life, to fight and to run…

There she was, holding the wallet of a dead woman in her shaking hands, knowing that she could never return in her old life… if she wanted to live, she had to run… and if she wanted to run, she would need a disguise and money.

With that thought she inserted the wallet into her own handbag, stood up and went away, leaving the bloody body behind, knowing, that she had made that young woman a Jane Doe - and she felt a hot jolt of guilt.



***Flashback Sara – Part 12***
------------------------------

It was later that day as she hid under a bridge at the river that she sobbed. It was icy and she felt so terrified and alone, she barely was able to held back the sobs… her mind was filled with terrible pictures of her dead father, of the stranger in her place and of that dead woman… and than she remembered Michael's call, and that he had told her that now everyone who stood near to them would be in danger…

Michael… thinking of his clear turquoise eyes was to much for her, the tears spilled over, and heavy sobs shook her thin frame.

It was several hours later and almost dark as she finally called Nikki.

***End of Flashback Sara***



*****************************
*****************************

Silence spread between them… Sara had talked for hours, sometimes interrupted from Nikki, digging for details.

It was unbelievable… if it was not Sara sitting beside her, Nikki surely had pointed and laughed out loud. That story was crazy!

But… it was Sara… and she trusted Sara with all her heart and soul.

This guy - Michael Scofield. The Fox River 8. She remembered she had read an article at home in England about this amazing escape. But she had never ever thought that it was the prison in which Sara was the doctor or that Sara could be involved in the escape…

Nikki drew a deep breath to calm down – she was very angry with this bugger!

What a mess. And Sara had been using? That has really shocked her.

As she refused to believe Sara, her friend had just rolled up the sleeves of her hoodie, revealing the ugly scars the needles had left.

“And you… you really attempted suicide, Sar?” Nikki asked her with a shaky voice.

“Yes… uhm… I did… I, I couldn't bear a life without him… I mean – I still can’t… I… “ Sara’s voice died in a heartbreaking sob, and Nikki caressed her cheek with one hand, inwardly adding another black line in her list about Scofield – definitely on the negative side. She had a very big bone to pick with him if they should ever meet, she thought grimly.

But than Sara raised her head and her wet coppery orbs glanced over to Nikki, and Sara whispered softly: “But… his call… all that has held me up since then were his words. He said he loves me, Nikki. And now I have thrown the phone, I have fled my home. He’s on the run. There’s no way I can reach him and now there’s no way he can find me because I’m not at home… What should I do know, Nikki – what should I do? How can I find him? Where can I go? Who are these people, who set Lincoln up, who killed my father and tried to kill me… I… uhm… I don’t know what to do… all what I have left from Michael are a paper Rose and some strange bird things with numbers on them… he said I held a key which would help me out and I think he talked about the Cranes… but I don’t know how to use them… First I thought it was a phone number, but that was a dead line. And what’s worse: the last one he sent to me is in my flat in Chicago, so maybe it’s not even possible to solve the puzzle…”

Listening to Sara’s dilemma with Michael - how to find him and if it really was a good idea – suddenly reminded her of Paul… another deep hit of desire splashed through her as she remembered his seablue eyes, his demanding kiss…

She shook her head… not now… that would not help…




*****************************

The sun had started to rise at the horizon, dipping the world around them in a mix of dark and bright colours, black and deep violet touching dark red, melting into flaming orange, covering Sara’s pale face with pure gold, playing with her auburn tresses, sparkling it with fire.

Nikki’s own fine features shone softly in this fairy lights, her eyes like gold-sparkled water, but she was tired and shocked, rubbing her face with her palm and yawning.

She had spotted a sign for a motel a few minutes before and as the motel come into sight, she left the dusty road and parked the car in the car park behind the motel.

Nikki killed the engine, and got out of the car, yawning and stretching; then she entered the office. A little while later she walked out of it, holding up a key. Sara took the luggage from the back seats and they entered the room No. 7.

“Thanks to god – a bed…” groaned Nikki, and Sara nodded in agree.

Both of them were so tired, they only made short visits in the bathroom, brushing their teeth and stripping off their clothes - dressed like the little girls they had once been in only t-shirts and pants.

Sara silently walked over to Nikki, and embraced her. “Thanks for being here, it means so much, Nikki… thanks for still being my friend” she whispered.

Nikki comforted her and stroked her hair, whilst Sara just clung to her friend.

After a short while they separated, smiled at each other and climbed into bed without another word, both slipping into sleep within mere seconds…



************************

Nikki let out a deep and heartfelt sigh.

She rested on the bed in their motel room and glanced at the ceiling – wide-awake after only 1 hour sleep.

That god damn Jetlag!

She had been in America for 3 days and was not over the time-discrepancy yet.

She turned to her side and watched Sara’s still sleeping form. A frown slipped over her face – Sara looked so exhausted.

She was curled up like a foetus and even in sleep she appeared tense, sometimes her hands were clenching into fists or shaking and once or twice she had murmured and whimpered.

Nikki felt suddenly enormous anger swelling in her breast – Scofield was to blame for all this mess! If he hadn’t had that stupid plan to break out his bull of a brother, he would never have bothered Sara and would never have done to her, what he did!

She gritted her teeth and a bitter little laugh fled her lips. Well – he'd better run, this Scofield, ‘cause if she could get her hands on him, she would… would…

She released softly her breath… she would gently kick his cute ass, because Sara loved him.

And – if it was possible to believe the words of a manipulative fugitive – he loved her too.




*****************************

Nikki glanced over to the alarm clock – it was shortly after midday. It had been such a long night for her, thanks to a mixture of things - her Jetlag and - if she was honest - her excitement and panic. Moving from England to America, leaving behind everything. It was scary and even in the few weeks before leaving, she hadn’t got enough sleep.

She had decided they should leave the motel in the early afternoon. She still had no idea where to go, but an instinct told her to drive towards Mexico – or was it knowledge gathered from her books, she asked herself amused.

Except for Sara’s deep misery that whole thing was kinda fun… it was like… being one of the heroine’s in her beloved thrillers!

With another sigh she snuggled up into her pillow, and closed her eyes.

And this time it worked – sleep took over… until suddenly she felt a hand caressing her cheek!




*****************************

She sat up immediately and yanked her eyes open, only to meet the hot glare of Paul's seablue gaze, locking deep with hers, before he cupped her face with his long hands, bent over and crushed his hot, searing mouth over hers in a torching kiss.

Gasping for air and with a little shriek Nikki bolted upright in bed.

Her widened eyes shot wildly around in the sunlit motel room – but nothing had changed. She was still alone with Sara and a quick glance at the clock made clear that she only had slept for another hour.

She had dreamt of Paul… her lips still burning from his rough kiss and her body aching longingly for him. Ashamed she buried her face in her hands.

God.

What the hell got into her? She hadn’t had a crush like this since school. And – she told herself sarcastically – the worst bad boys at school all added together were not as dangerous as this special man seemed to be.

No… it was senseless.

She stood up and walked into the bathroom, stripped her clothes off her traitorous body and stepped into the Shower.

The hot water dimmed her arousal and soothed the built up tensions.




*****************************

Refreshed and dressed in jeans and T-Shirt, winding her wet hair in a big towel, she returned half an hour later in the main room.

She walked over to Sara, who was again whimpering in sleep, and stroked her hair until she eased a little.

Than she walked over to her own bed, snatched the remote, turned the TV on, pressed the mute-button and zapped through the channels.

Suddenly the mug shots of the Fox River 8 popped up, a flashing Highlight announced “BREAKING NEWS!” and with a surprised gasp she turned the volume up.

“… the death of one of the escaped convicts is still not confirmed by FBI Agent, Alexander Mahone. But it seems obvious that at least one fugitive has been killed in the gunfight. Witnesses report that a bloody body was seen under the blanket.”

In the meantime the images on the screen had changed, the mug shots had been replaced by the sight of many police cars with blinking flash lights, policemen running around and several black SUV’s with black toned windows were parked in the front area of a motel. A ambulance left the parking lot without flashlights and a SUV followed immediately.

Than the pictures disappeared and the heart shaped face of the pretty news anchor filled the screen.

“What happened? Who was shot? Was it Scofield, the Mastermind of the escape? We find the answers for you, just turn on to our Special News Bulletin at 2…”

The sharp intake of breath beside her startled Nikki and her head shot left to see a deathly pale Sara staring shocked at the screen, shaking hands covering her mouth.

“Oh my god… no… n-not… M-michael” and the tears spilled over, streaming over her face, her whole skinny body shaking in sobs.

In a fluent motion Nikki was on her feet and at the side of her friend, embracing her and murmuring senseless words of solace, feeling her own eyes filling with tears over the misery of her best friend.

Life sucked… big time…
End Notes:
So... what do you think? :)
Chapter 4 - The Brothers by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
It's now time to take a look at our beloved brothers... ;)
*****************************
The brothers

*****************************

5 days earlier

He snapped the phone shut, inhaled sharply, and rested his forehead against the scruffy wall.

That wasn’t supposed to happen. All of this mess. His plan – it had gone out of hand.

His eyes, usually as clear as the Caribbean sea, were clouded with unshed tears, and showed a deep, stormy grey.

His gaze went blank, starring into nothing without blinking, and then he started to bang his head slightly against the wall, he needed to think, but… he couldn’t… Bang… All he wanted to do was to take the car, to drive back to Chicago, take her in his arms… Bang… All he wanted to do was to erase the deep hurt he has sensed in her voice… Bang… All he wanted to do was turn back the clock and change something in his plan, so that she would not be involved in this.

Bang… It was all his fault…

Bang… Bang… Bang… usually this little ritual helped him to focus, to block all other information out – but not this time… not this time.

Suddenly he felt a hand at his shoulder, and heard the deep concerned voice of his brother: “Hey bro – is everything ok with you? I… I have never seen you like that before. I mean… Bellick. I've thought of doing something like that but ... ahh.. Bro…”

Linc hesitated and licked his bottom lip, before he continued:

“… you kicked him straight in the face! What the hell is up with you? That was not you in there, Michael. I have never seen you like this.”

Bang… Bang… His eyes still open, without seeing … Bang… why can’t he block out her voice, the hurt in her voice? Bang…

Linc waited for a reaction from Michael, but his little brother ignored him and continued bumping his head against the wall.

That mannerism of Michael had driven him crazy from the time they had been children together.

He knew him so well – this was a sign of stress, an attempt to get away from it all.


********************************
***Flashback Lincoln***

When they were kids it was never easy for them.

Their father left the family before Mikey was born and after that their mother had worked double shifts to feed the little family.

Linc loved his baby brother, but he hated that he never was able to play with friends after the classes, he had always to rush back home, to care for his little brother.

But somehow they managed it, they cared for each other, and it was ok.



*****************************

As the years flew by it was obvious, that Michael was not like other kids. His clear turquoise eyes seemed to absorb every detail of his surroundings, he loved books and read every single one he could find, and not only books for children, oh no…
If it was possible to disassemble a thing – Mikey would do it… but he was also able to repair it perfectly, every step of the former disassembly memorized in his little genius mind.

Sometimes it fascinated Linc to watch his little bro while he “worked” with an object. The concentration on his little face, his tiny hands moving so fast and without indecision, the hypnotic glint in his eyes – Linc had no idea how it worked, what was going on in Michaels mind when he “re-did” things, like he called it. But he felt proud of his brother in these times, very proud.


*************************

But the dark side of the coin was that Michael had no friends, no one would be involved with that “nerd” little boy and as Michael got older, his “seizures” began.

When it happened the first time Linc thought, his little brother would die…

Their mother was at work, as usual, and Linc and Mikey had returned early from school. They had eaten what has been left from yesterday’s dinner, and had started with their homework.

Michael – as ever – was finished long before Lincoln, all his homework written down in his neat handwriting, all exact and perfect.

Lincoln – still huffing and puffing with math, was happy as the doorbell rang and his friend Derek showed up.

Immediately Linc stopped doing his homework and they went in Linc’s room, and the drumming noise of Linc’s favourite Music waved through the little house, its deep bass caused all dishes in the boards to vibrate and tingle.

Michael, on his way to his brothers room, was suddenly magically attracted to Linc's open maths books and strolled to the chair and sat at the table.

He shortly studied the tasks and answered the exercises in question. He was intrigued – and was not able to stop.

He worked his way methodically through the book of his 5 year elder brother, his senses wide open, his mind racing, the much to loud music drumming in his blood, in his skull - and suddenly all of it was to much.

The pencil dropped from his numb little fingers, his eyes went big, seeing nothing and everything all at the same time, all of his surroundings crushed down at him at once, and his brain – still calculating with numbers and variables and exponents, with the unlimited possibilities of the number range – was not able to stop any of the stimulations.

Michael covered his eyes with his hands, plunged from the kitchen chair, knocking books and papers down with him, curled up into a ball and started to scream.

Linc and Derek bolted back into the kitchen, only to find – apparently without any reason – Michael’s little body shaking and twitching, whilst his high-pitched screams echoed through the kitchen. Laid everywhere were spread sheets of paper, blotched with resolved mathematic issues.

Whilst Linc tried to calm his little brother down and examined him for injuries Derek ran back to his home and yelled for his mother, to help.

But she couldn’t help… Finally they called the ambulance, and Linc called his mother, shaking with sobs.


**************************

As Christina arrived at the hospital she found Derek’s mother and Lincoln, who was totally horrified and full of guilt. He felt guilty, without knowing for what… only for… for not being there for his brother, when “whatever” had happened…

His mother was at once spotted by a doctor who called her into a separate room.

Linc watched them through the windows with rising panic, his mother looked very pale and shocked, her stunning blue eyes much to big in her scared face.

The doctor laid his hand reassuringly on her shoulder, glanced shortly at Lincoln and left the room. His mother stood there for a while and Linc knew she was fighting back her tears, that she struggled to be strong for him.

He gulped dropping his glance down to his feet and waited for her.

As her soft fingers tousled his short dark stubble he nearly jumped out of his skin.

“Hey, Lincoln… it will all be ok, you know?” she told him with a slightly shaking voice.

“Mom, what’s up with him? What have I done wrong?” he gagged out and pressed his palms tight onto his eyes, to hold back the tears.

With a deep sigh she told him that, although there were more tests that they had to do, it seemed like Michael had had a kind of seizure and the doctor needed to know what exactly had happened at home.

Linc nodded and together they had re-entered the doctors office and Linc told him what he knew…



*********************

It had taken several weeks to diagnose Michael’s problem.

Michael was a highly intelligent boy with a very high IQ.

But – as often in such cases – this special feature had a dark twin...

It seemed that his little brother was not able to block out any Stimuli of his surroundings. While everyone else would only pick up the information which was needed Michael gets all of it at once with no chance of blocking out anything.

Many years later – Linc was not sure – end of the nineties - Michael’s condition gained a name: Low Latent Inhibition, or LLI for short.

The doctor (who was very enthusiastic about it) said it was like Michael being the only one looking straight into a solar eclipse whilst all others would use a protection to filter out the harsh rays of the sun.

Michael would never only see a car as a car. He would immediately start to calculate its size and interior space, how big the tires would be and with which bolts they would be fixed, what it’s displacement would allow which motor, and much more… his brain would always try to think and rethink each little detail, would illuminate it from all sides, which a normal beholder never ever would knew that it even exists.

And that was the reason why Michael had that seizure, his brain had an “overload”, too fast, too much, too loud - and so he had a breakdown.



**********************

Suddenly all made sense… that Michael doesn’t like loud games; that he wanted his room neat and sorted; that he so often suffered with headache; that he could get “lost” in himself, nearly hypnotised whilst tapping a rhythm with his fingers; that he sometimes simply “shut down” – sitting in a corner or at his bed, blind for all and everything.

His beloved little bro, his little “plague”, he was a god damn little genius in a fragile, thin eggshell.

But it was good to knew about his condition for it helped them arrange things got better for Mikey.

Sure, sometimes he got this seizures, but soon they found out how to help him.

And it wasn't as bad ever time, sometimes it was like he had it under control.



************************

Then – one day – all of their lives changed forever.

Their mother was diagnosed with cancer, with a malignant growth. It was discovered too late, her suffering was short, but painful.

They lost her when Michael was 8, and Lincoln 13 years old.

After that it was terrible for both of them… whilst Lincoln rebelled against all authority and spent most of his time in juvenile hall, his little brother was passed from one foster home to another, some good, some bad.

He had a hard time as far as Lincoln knew – until today Michael has never talked about this time.

Sometimes – when Linc was out of Juvie – they had some time together and Linc was shocked how skinny and withdrawn his little brother had become.

Michael was brilliant at school, but he was always lost in his own world, and talked barely; his seizures still came and went and that was the reason for his steady change of foster families… no family wanted a child who was suffering with something no one could quite understand.

He sometimes acted so weird, that Linc lost his temper with him, sometimes he hoped so much he could rip him out of this solitude, but all what happened was that Michael shut up, blocked him and his surroundings out, starred with dead, unblinking eyes into nothingness, and started to bang his head against a wall.

Or – when it was really bad – he hurt himself drastically in a desperate try to gain control… and usually there was nothing what Linc could do, only sit and wait and hope, that it would get over.

*** End of Flashback Lincoln***
*******************************




*****************************

He was no longer 12 years old… Today he knew that Michael was trying to concentrate, to focus his mind.

But today was really no time for him to get lost in his giant labyrinth of his brain!

He felt the strange look of that chick – what was her name? Nika – flash over his brother, he turned to her and stared her down.

Nika’s big brown eyes widened in sudden fear and she backed away out of the house.

Linc sighed. Damn… he don’t wanted to scare the girl, but he needed a minute with his brother alone.

With determination and smouldering anger he grabbed Michael’s shoulders with both hands, spun him around and stared him direct in the eyes, shaking him slightly.

“Michael… Michael! Fuck you, Michael, don’t dare to pass out right now, I need you awake in here!” he growled.

Michael, tensed up in the hard grip of his brother, suddenly relaxed, taking a deep breath – and than he opened his lucid eyes and locked them with his brothers greenish orbs.

“Damn, bro – are you back now?” demanded Linc to know, and with a sigh Michael finally nodded.

“It’s ok Linc, thanks. I’m back know” a tired Michael responded, pushing his hands into the pockets of his trousers.

“Man, what’s up? You need to tell me – has it something to do with Sara, like Bellick said?”

Michael tensed up again, his face gave nothing away, it was like stone, but Linc could see the expression of his eyes, swirling anger and guilt and – what? Concern? Love?

Linc shook his head, chewed at his bottom lip, and sighed again: “So it got you really bad, huh, little bro?”




*****************************

Michael seemed about to block him out, but surprisedly his shoulders dropped and he started to talk,

“I hurt her, Linc. She… it was never the plan to involve her in this, you know? I needed to be in the infirmary, to prepare that pipe. That was all! But they fixed it and our way was blocked – so I needed another solution.

And that meant I needed a key to the infirmary… That meant that I had to involve her, one way or another, there was no time left to find another solution!

I wanted to steal that key, to make a duplicate… but… I messed it up, totally!”

Lincoln tried to interrupt: “Bro – you know – there was no time for it, you needed to…”

“I know what I needed to do, Linc! I know it!” Michael yelled, his eyes suddenly cold steel blue. “But I couldn’t steal that fucking key, I couldn’t even think about it!"

Linc’s eyes blinked in surprise at Michael’s swearing and he tried to remember when he had ever seen his brother such enraged.

Michael gulped for air, his face showed so much pain right now, that Linc only wanted to wrap him up in his arms, to shield him from whatever had hurt him so much.

Then Michael continued, with closed eyes, lost in memories, his voice deep and soft,

“She was too near, I could feel the warmth of her body, the soft touch of her hand at my shoulder. I could smell the scent of cinnamon and oranges, which always seems to be with her… she flooded my senses, Linc… suddenly there was only she… and I knew I probably would never see her again, and I lost it, I could not resist…”

At Michael’s next words Linc’s chin dropped at his chest.




******************************

“Instead of taking the keys… I kissed her. And asked her to wait for me…” his voice barely a whisper now, and tears glistening in his eloquent eyes.

“You’re crazy man, you know? You made out with the prison doc? What if she had called the CO’s and you would have been locked up in the SHU?” Linc’s voice was calm but interspersed with mixed emotions, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do: kill his brother for his unbelievable stupidity or pat him on the back for his boldness.

Michael moved his long fingers over his tired face and rubbed his eyes,

“We didn't make out Linc! I kissed her!” he snapped. “There's a difference, you know?”

And than, with a softer voice,

“I know Linc, I know that it was the stupidest thing I ever did. But… I… uhm… I really love her, you know? And only because I wasn't able to control myself I’ve put her down and in danger!”

Michael stared directly at Linc, and Linc was taken aback at the intense expression of hurt and guilt in Michaels eyes.

In a helpless gesture he gripped his head with both hands, closed his eyes and let out a deep moan,

“She has tried to kill herself, Linc. Because of me… And now she has to face prison… tell me how I can live with this? Please… tell me…” his voice broke and he became silent, his whole posture beaten.




*****************************

Linc shook his head, and gave his brother a reassuring grip at the shoulder.

“Man, I’m sorry, I don’t know what to say. But if all of this – your sacrifice, Vee’s death, the struggling of Sara and I don’t know what else – if all of this should not be for nothing, you need to clear your head. Now. And move on. Get our asses out of the firing line. And than you can do what you can best: sit down, think about it and make a plan, get it right. To help your lady-doc, ok? But bro – you need to focus now! In the other room sit two dickheads, we have to decide what to do with them, your little girlie is waiting outside – what’s with her? Come on bro, sort it out and lets go! I wanna be outa here in half an hour, ok?”

Linc squeezed Michaels shoulder, and slowly Michael nodded.

“Ok, Linc. You’re right… give me a few minutes, check our friends in there, and then we will leave.”

Linc smiled at Michael “Yeah, that’s my little nerd!”, boxed him slightly in the chest and left the room.

And Michael closed his eyes, drained his mind like he learned in countless hours with his psychologist and focused on what was needed now: security for him and his brother.




*****************************

The perfect silhouette of Nika in her pink workout dress got smaller and smaller in the rear-view mirror.

She had looked so lost and Michael really felt sorry for her.

He sighed. Another part of his plan that had turned into a nightmare.

Linc glanced sidewards at Michael, and decided to break the silence. “It was her choice, you know? She decided to grab the weapon, she decided to turn on us!”

Michael only nodded, a bitter look on his face.

Then he shook his head, and sat up straight, all his feelings hidden in a mask of neutrality.

“Ok Linc, here’s the plan so far. First we have to get rid of this car, it’s possible that Nika could free Bellick and Geary. And then…..”




*****************************

It was four days later.

Michael and Linc finally arrived in Utah and Linc was still amazed over Michaels ingenious “Plan B”.

At first of course he had worked in and around Chicago, especially around Fox River and the Goose Park Airstrip and he had taken note of everything and memorized it for later use.

He had set up the fake-grave of E. Chance Woods in Oswego to provide them with money, new passports and clothes; he had rented several storages within a 30 miles radius to set their chasers on the wrong track. He had hidden their first getaway car a few miles from there.

And not to forget his unbelievable little stunt with the car at the bridge to get rid of their hunters and to win some time… if they hadn’t had that little run in with the dream team of Bellick and Geary it would have made all easier for them.

But he had done so much more, only “in case of”… Michael doesn’t leave something to chance, if he could avoid it.

In the last three years after the shocking sentence and Lincoln's transfer to Death Row Michael had methodically travelled through America.

His first route had been towards the Mexican border. This was a logical escape route – but of course, a very obvious one. So he had searched for the best way through - where the possible street blockades would be - and had been put in previous escapes - and how to avoid them.

He had made connections with some dubious guys at the border but was still hoping, that he would not be forced to contact them.

During his research about Fox River he stumbled over an old case of highjacking: The D.B. Cooper Case. He found some interesting theories about the whereabouts of the captured money… It intrigued him and so Michael was not able to let go – his brain was already on scavenger hunt, and it didn't take him long to complete the puzzle. He realized for sure that Charles Westmoreland, detained in Fox River, was no one other than this notorious D.B. Cooper.

The money had never been found – but Michael was sure about the route and distance where Westmoreland could have hidden the money.

So he followed Westmoreland’s / D.B.’s footsteps and checked his way and the concerned areas , too.

And in all the routes which he had travelled, he had made some arrangements for him and his brother.




*****************************

They had changed the car as soon as possible after leaving Nika and the ex-CO’s and finally they had been on their way to Utah.

Linc had tried to talk Michael out of this crazy treasure hunt. It was not only that they were travelling deeper into America instead of heading for the relative alluring immunity of Mexico. No – there were several suspect individuals out there who also had heard of this prize, and who – Linc was sure about that – would also try to get the Jackpot. And some of them had surely no problems in selling their own grandmother for it.

But Michael was insisting that they had no chance to get away without that money…

Whilst discussing heatedly Linc was following Michael's directions to Jackson County, Southern Illinois.

Chicago and Illinois were still too dangerous for them – they had escaped a maximum-security prison in this state, and now all of Illinois felt offended, was mobile and on their tracks, because it has happened in here, in this state.

Michael was sure that it would get a bit easier for them when they left Illinois and that it would get much harder when they finally would come near Mexico.

So he smuggled them through little back roads and surprised Lincoln with his detailed knowledge of the area.

And suddenly he said: “Bend off, Linc!” and they darted deeper into a big natural, rocky area with protruding woods, following a small track which not even earned to be called a path.

“Ehrm… are you sure, Mikey?” he looked quizzically at his younger brother, and saw suddenly a little knowing smile playing on Michael’s mouth.

Linc shook his head, remembered how often he had asked his little bro this question when they were kids when Michael “re-did” things and everytime it turned out, that Michael had been right… So Linc gave in, sighed deeply and said: “Ok – you want it, you got it!” and both laughed for the first time since years, so it seemed. And it felt so damn good…




*****************************

They had been travelling for about 5 miles down the dirt road as Michael made Lincoln turn the car into a hidden slot and they stopped.

Both got out of the car and stretched their sore muscles and long frames.

Linc closed his eyes and took a deep breath. The surroundings of the wood, the moderate breeze under the branches of the old trees, the soft whispers of leaves against leaves, a hint of slightly red-golden toned sunlight in his face, singing birds, the scent of leaves and damp soil – all of it felt so good, smelled so good… it smelled so… full of life… it smelled – it smelled like freedom…

His face which had been engraved with the sorrow and fear of three years in Death Row relaxed for the first time he could remember and he inhaled deeply.

As he felt Michael’s hand on his shoulder it was impossible for him to retain strong.

Vee had always loved the woods… She had dreamt of a little house in the woods, with a little creek nearby… two children and a dog…

Tears started to stream silently over his face, whilst he remembered her lovely face, her ravenwing-black hair, her deep grey eyes… her love for him… her last words…

Michael sensed clearly what Linc felt at this moment, and he was glad that he was able to give Linc the chance to abandon into his grief.

He knew how difficult it was for Linc to show his feelings, he was always the strong guy, the rock in the branding, the one with the muscles and good for dirty work.

At least this was the image he had nourished as long as Michael could remember. It was Linc’s way to protect himself from the world.

So he didn’t say a word, he stood only in silent union with his brother, showed him his love and respect in his tight grip at Linc’s shoulder and waited until Linc’s soundless sobbing come to an end.

With a croaky voice he said: “I loved her too, Linc… I’m so sorry…”. Now it was his turn to avert his eyes, and to take a deep breath.

As he felt that Linc had regained his composure he looked at him, and asked: “Ready?”

Lincoln nodded: “Yeah, whatever… let’s go, Man.” and followed Michael deeper in the woods.





*******************************

They entered the forest and both brothers were impressed by the old trees, their branches interwoven high above their heads, building a green dome.

Michael strode purposeful through the velvety green light, and Linc followed him, not able to ignore the breathtaking beauty of nature around them.

He had spent 3 years in a little concrete cell and in this wood he realized suddenly that he had totally forgotten how wide the world was… how big… and how wonderful…

Michael stopped in front of him and Linc followed his look to some big, erratic blocks, weather beaten and old.

“We have to hurry a bit, the sun is going down, and it'll get dark real quick.” said Michael and than Lincoln watched bewildered as Michael started to climb one of the blocks and disappeared out of his field of view.

“Michael?” – no answer.

Linc licked his lip, and scratched nervously at his short-shorn head.

“Michael!” a bit louder now, but still without answer. What the hell?

“Hey, instead of screaming how would it be if you come up here and give me a hand?” Michaels voice trailed down to him.

Linc shook his head, shrugged, and climbed the blocks.

It was easier than it looked, the old, weather beaten stone gave dozen of possibilities to get a tight hold…

A little time later Linc stood beside Michael, and watched him searching a big trunk, a fallen giant, leaning in this erratic blocks.

“Ah – here it is…” Michaels voice was taken away from the wind, and than – one after the other - he handed two really big backpacks and a very big travelling bag (each carefully wrapped in big plastic bags to avoid getting wet), two canisters filled with gas and several boxes with water bottles to his stunned brother.

It all looked a bit dirty, but they had been been out here for weeks or even months so…

“Come on Linc, we have to bring it to the car before night falls and I think it's gonna take two journerys.”

Linc nodded, and they worked quickly together hand to hand. “What is in the packs, Michael?”

“All we need, you will see Lincoln, you will see… “ was the smug answer of Michael, a smile on his face and with twinkling eyes.

Just while they stashed the last piece of their new belongings in the trunk of the car, the last daylight ebbed and whilst the sky above still was lit in most beautiful colours it was very dark in the woods.

They entered the car, and Linc started rummaging through one of the backpacks, and shook his head in disbelief.

“Man – you doesn’t let a thing to chance, do you? That’s like paradise! Is this… no – that can’t…” Linc’s eyes widened again in surprise as his hands retrieved fresh clothes, toiletries and shoes from the bag – and it was not just any items, they were his favourite items, his favourite aftershave, deoderant, toothpaste and everything else he could need!

“Bro, you…” his voices trailed off, and Michael only shrugged a bit shyly.

“It’s ok Linc… I just thought… you would like to have a bit of your life back, you know?” and smiled mischievously at his elder brother.

Then he grabbed the other backpack and retained several objects from it: a strong pocket lamp, maps, a GPS-System, a radio unit, a really strange device with a cable on it, a big roll of dollar notes, and – paying attention to their grumbling bellies - boxes with crackers, cookies and bags with buffalo jerky and chips – and some glasses with instant coffee.

Both brothers grimaced at the jerky, but Linc shrugged “it’s edible, and I’m hungry” and grabbed it.

“What’s this?” asked Lincoln, pointing at the strange device.

Michael grinned “it’s a little kettle which can be used with the car’s cigarette lighter. Very handy… I fear I would be no help without coffee, even it it’s an instant one.”

Linc laughed, and patted Michael’s shoulder.

Michael started the GPS to relocate their position and was pleased when the little appliance worked without failure, then he spent some time to the radio unit.

At Linc’s inquiring look he answered shortly “for checking out the police radios”.

Then he took the money and gave Lincoln his share of it.

They relaxed a bit and their conversation trailed off, touching all, but nothing concerning Fox River, their escape or the future…

Finally Michael stated with a deep yawn and a glance at his watch “Ok, I set the alarm for 2 hours, we both should try to catch some sleep, and than we drive towards Missouri. I drive first, you sleep… Is that ok with you?”

“Yup, ok.” Nodded a sleepily Linc.

They adjusted their seats in sleep position, locked the doors – and slept within minutes the deep sleep of very tired men…




*******************************

He was immediately wide-awake, as his alarm beeped.

A look sidewards was rewarded with the image of his brother – still snoring with open mouth, showing no reaction at the sharp sound of the alarm.

Michael smirked at him, amusedly aware that some things probably never changed… but it took only a second, and the smile faded away...

Driving at night in a nature reserve area could attract unwanted attention, so he used only the parking lights and left the woods slowly and carefully.

As they entered the main road again he allowed himself to relax a little more.

He turned the radio on and then the brothers were on a roll again…




*******************************

(((Song: “Morte D’Arthur”, Artist: Miriam Stockley)))

Their journey had been surprisingly quiet and peaceful.

They followed Michael’s prepared hidden route towards Utah, which not always was the shortest and easiest way but they avoided big city’s and main roads as good as possible.

The GPS and the radio unit were beyond price, with this combination they managed to avert a few road blocks.

Michael longed to lay his hands on a newspaper, but they stuck true to his plan and so they had no chance of buying any so they had only the news on the radio to stay up-to-date and that was not enough.

Always one of the brothers was driving, the other sleeping. Or so it was planned.

Most of the time Michael was not able to find rest, only tossing and turning, thinking and re-thinking all what had happened so far again. He could not shut down.

To be true Michael was at the end of his tether… He had barely slept in month.

Oh, he could endure for a long time with little sleep, but – when had his last really decent sleep been? He shook his head… months ago… long before his plan to break his brother out had begun.

In Fox River he had not had time to get much sleep – either he had been working at something or he had lain awake, thinking his whole plan through… or thinking about Sara ........

And since they were on the run, he was always alert… even when it was Linc’s turn to drive, Michael was not able to cut off…

Surely he had fallen truly asleep sometimes… but… his dreams… Michael sighed and rubbed his face with his slender fingers.

How was it possible to fear and to crave for something so much at the same time?

He longed to sleep, to dream… but at the same time he was scared to dream, because his dreams deprived his spirit… made him hollow…

His dreams were full of Sara. It was always the same dream, returning every time when he dared to close his eyes…






He was in the infirmary.

They had been laughing together, it felt all so easy and normal around her…

He loved these little “outtakes” from his life in prison, his daily visits in the infirmary.

Ok – not all… not when segregated toes or split eyebrows were concerned… but… being here, with her… it felt good. It felt almost normal.

From somewhere he could surprisedly hear music playing, and he wondered where the radio was – he had never seen one in here.


***You crossed another threshold today - And now there’s just an empty space – And it can’t be that warm where you are – near or far – near or far…***


The sweet and melancholic voice of a woman sang a sad song, it was only his LLI which absorbed every word and every note, and interweaved it with this visit in the infirmary.

Sara had just checked his toes and was now checking him. He was sitting in front of her at the edge of the stretcher, and had his shirt rolled up so that she could use her stethoscope.


***And every journey must reach an end – Is there a message you’d like to send***


Still wearing her beautiful smile she laid her left hand on his shoulder, whilst her right hand adjusted the stethoscope on his chest. Like ever he could feel her gaze following the blue lines of his tattoo.


***Are there a million stars where you are – near or far – near or far… ***


As demanded he took a deep breath and suddenly and without warning her scent flooded his nostrils… that bewitching mix of cinnamon and orange…

He could feel his heart miss a beat and she must have felt and heard it too, because she gazed up at him, puzzled, and her warm amber, with gold-sprinkled eyes locked with his turquoise ones… deeply… and the world stood still.


***It’s only love that keeps us hanging on – Until the battle in our hearts is won – On the day of reckoning, reckoning, reckoning… ***


Michael could feel a sudden jolt of desire, his breath quickened and Sara’s eyes widened as she noticed the onset of arousal.

Suddenly her glance slipped down to his lips and back to his eyes, only to return a second later to his lips again…

…and than he moved a little forward, and graced her lips softly with his.


***When you pull the sword from the stone – And all the walls come tumbling down – And all your knights have fallen to their knees, to their knees***


She gasped a little, her right hand lost the grip at the stethoscope and touched his inked flesh hesitantly… she felt so cool on his hot skin, so good… so…

He could not bear it any longer not to touch her, so he moved up his arms, and cupped her face with his long fingers, his thumbs caressing her soft cheeks, lowering his eyes at her adorable lips.

He kissed her again, with more passion and as he could feel her move into it he pulled back, both breathless and Sara trembling under his hands, but now her left hand joined her right under his shirt, her cool fingertips at his bare chest made him shiver.


***It’s only love that keeps us hanging on – Until the battle in our hearts is won (It’s only love) – On the day of reckoning, reckoning, reckoning***


That was too much. His hands left her face, sinking in her red silken curls, trailing down her spine, making her shiver. He pulled her closer, so that he could feel her, so that she could feel him - all without losing eye contact.

And this time she kissed him, her mouth met his in a torching kiss and her tongue slipped between his lips. With a little groan he opened up for her, welcoming the sweet sensations, joining the dance of lust and desire…


***(C’est la morte d’Arthur – Can you hear the sound of it? Tell me can you hear – echoing?) La morte d’Arthur, (c’est la morte) – La morte d’Arthur***






And with her taste on his lips he fell out of sleep and merciless he was aware of her missing presence… Her scent always seemed lo linger in the air, like she had been here with him.

But his arms were empty and where he just had felt her warmth and softness - there was nothing…

He missed her with an intensity that would kill him slowly from within, he was sure.

But he was helpless in this mess… no plan, no ingenious tattoo could made him sleep, could make him win her heart, her trust again, could help him obtain his sanity…

The name of his cure was Sara. But he had lost her. And with her all of his hope.

Michael had repeatedly tried to contact Sara, but had remained unsuccessful.

He got more and more depressed with every failed attempt and his efforts to conceal it from Lincoln had been useless.

All he could hope was that Sara had been able to work out his numerical code and that she would show up at the meeting point in New Mexico.

If she didn't show up, he…

Michael forced his thoughts into a new direction.



******************************

It took them 4 days to make their way to Utah and thanks to Michaels “Plan B” they were not forced to get in contact with other people. They followed Michael’s route and like pearls on a necklace they picked up what they needed at Michael’s little hideouts, most of them so secluded that they could take a nap or two.

One of their last stops had been shortly after the border to Utah, in Moab.

The countryside was stunning, a wide and open blue sky in contrast to red rocks and sand… the karst area had its one charm… a hot wind blew and the sand got into everything.

Again they had picked up water and food, fresh clothes and a big bundle of money – and there had been other useful things: several shovels, a very detailed map of Utah and some empty backpacks.

Linc had risen one eyebrow at the sight of the shovels, and Michael had shrugged “if they break whilst we are working – would you like to dig on with your hands?”

Linc waved aside and chuckled about his always prepared and guarded brother.

On their way the brothers had had much time to renew their bonding, to bury old differences and to talk about their hopes and sorrows.

Michael knew that he had to work out a plan to find and break out LJ as soon as possible; Lincoln would not leave America without his son, and – if he was honest - he was of the same opinion.

He tried to convince Lincoln that they need to be safe first and the they could work on a plan, but Linc was absolutely bull-headed where his son was concerned.

But he had agreed to do the essential things first… after another drive of 6 hours they finally arrived in Tooele, Utah, where Westmoreland had hidden his goods.
End Notes:
Let me know what you think so far! :)
Chapter 5 - Treasure Hunt by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
So - next Chapter!
Maybe I have to warn my readers - from now on I'm getting mean... *blushes*
***********************
Treasure Hunt
***********************

Linc sighed. It seemed that Michael was painting a god damn canvas of that map of Utah! Half an hour had gone by and still was his long frame crumpled over that bloody piece of paper!

They stood above a wide prairie in the shadow of a withered, old trunk, and the sun has just started to send it’s already searing hot rays above the mountains.

The wind was hot and dry and the still dusty, but cloudless blue sky promised a very hot day.

Lincoln snorted. He knew he wasn’t being fair but the longer they had been on their way the angrier he had become.

His natural impatience was morbidly increased because of the long hours in the car, his sorrow about LJ, and his grief for Vee. It left him feeling useless and helpless.

He can’t understand why his little brother still remained so calm and he had to bite his tongue not to start an argument with him, only to find an outlet for his smouldering anger.

“What’s the problem, Michael?” his voice sounded harsh.

Michael’s turquoise eyes lifted shortly from the map and he searched in the face of his brother for hints of the anger he had heard in his voice, but – like ever – Linc’s face was made of stone and gave nothing away.

Scraping his regrowing black stubble he answered “There is no Double K Ranch to find… I wish I had an older map of this area – this one is probably too new! Westmoreland had been incarcerated in the seventies… Maybe if we…”

He stopped in mid-sentence, his chin dropped to chest and his eyes grew wide.

Linc turned quickly and raised his hands in a defensive stance.



*********************************

They looked directly at Sucré’s happy countenance and a few steps behind C-Note made his appearance, a smug smile on his dark face.

“Ay – Papi!” yelled Sucré and caught Michael in a big embrace, patting his back and smiling and babbling in Spanish and English altogether…

Michael’s eyes lit up, and he returned the heartfelt hug of his friend with real joy.

Than Sucré let go and turned to Linc and shook his hand: “Linc – is everything ok?”

Linc took Sucre`s hand, and nodded shortly. “It’s fine, man…”

Then C-Note closed up and watched the reunion guardedly.

Michael greeted him without expression, only with a little nod “C-Note”, but Linc eyed wildly at him.

For some reason neither men liked each other…

Smirking C-Note mentioned: “Sooo… you’re going to dig, Snowflake?” and grimaced at the shovels in the back of their dusty car. “I thought it’s too hot for a fish out here in the desert!”

But before anyone could answer Sucré babbled straight on – as ever good humoured,

“Papi, you know, we’ve found out which place we had to go, we can go there altogether and thanks to you both we don’t need to look for a shop to buy shovels and stuff like that – you have them already!”

Michaels head shot up and his now steel blue eyes focused on Sucré’s beaming face and then on C-Notes widening smirk.

“You know the location of the Double K Farm? How did you find it?”

“Ah – I have really no idea, Papi – C-Note has it… and I have it – well, WILL have it – ‘cause I have the bike, you know? He was on his way with by foot, and I took him with me, so he will give me the location in exchange – that’s a good deal, yes, Papi? And as far as I know there’s enough money for us all, so we have not to fight, ehem… Right, Papi?”

As he got no answer, Sucré suddenly realized the mute starring-duel between Linc and C-Note… And Michael’s nervous glances shooting to and fro.

“Ay… have I missed something here?” he asked astounded and in the same breath he forgot them totally and said: “What are we waiting for? We – aah – C-Note knows where to go, you both have the gear – let’s go, it’s only getting hotter out here!”

And he smiled from one to the other, waiting for their response.

“Sucré’s right, Linc…” Michael stated silently.

Linc drew a big breath and chewed at his bottom lip, than he nodded slowly.

“Ok C-Note, than share it with us!” he demanded with a dangerously calm voice.

C-Note laughed out loud “You think I’m that stupid, Sink? I tell you where to find the Double K Ranch – and then you and Fish will get rid of me! No man – not with me!” he spoke while looking Linc up and down,

“You little bastard, you…!” was all that was heard from a furious Linc, who wanted to grab C-Note – but was stopped from Michael’s and Sucré’s combined grip.

“Who-ho-ho – Linc – cool down, ok?”

“Ay, big boy, he’s here to help, you know?”

A furious Linc broke away from them and stomped towards the old tree, muttering cuss words under his breath.

Michael watched him go, and than turned back to C-Note, eyeing him thoroughly.

“Ok C-Note. We have to come to an understanding. We all want the same – the money from Westmoreland. Clear so far?”

C-Note and Sucré nodded, and Michael continued.

“As far as I know it’s buried somewhere out there in the plains, this used to be farmland … there’s all plain now, no one lives here, but it’s supposed to become a new settlement within the next weeks. So I guess that the Double K Ranch had been somewhere in this area. Is that right?” he asked again.

C-Note looked him shortly in the eyes, and nodded silently.

“Ok, next point. You have a motorcycle. We have a car. We have the gear, from shovels to extra backpacks to a GPS-System… We can it use all together to find it, or we can sit here and wait and look who’s gonna catch a fly first. Have we a deal, or have we not?”

Michael looked emotionless from Sucré to C-Note.

C-Note grimaced “We will split it fair, in four pieces?”

“No – we will split it in five pieces… I promised Westmoreland to take care of his daughter, and I will… you have a problem with it?” and his steel blue eyes connected unwavering with the dark eyes of C-Note…

And for the first time since he knew him, a real smile started to play at C-Notes face.

“Yeah Fish, I’ve heard you talk to the old man… I heard your promise… You will really take care of his daughter? Well, that proves to me, that at least you wanna stick to your word. So it’s a deal – we will cut the cake into 5 slices…” and he put forth his hand to Michael, and Michael grabbed it, and they shook their hands whilst seeing in the eyes of each other nothing than truthfulness.

“For the old man” C-Note said with a slightly trembling voice, and Michael realized surprised that C-Note must have liked Westmoreland, despite of the skirmishes they had together.

And with his deep voice also stricken with emotion Michael acknowledged: “For the old man…”

Sucrè looked relieved from Michael to C-Note, and back to Michael.

“So we are clear now, Papi?”

And as Michael and C-Note turned and both smiled at him, he laughed out loud, crossed himself and sent a silver-tongued prayer to virgin Mary – in spanish of course…

That reminded Michael of something.

“Fernando – how is Maricruz and the baby?”

Immediately his friend stiffened and his gaze dropped. With a voice, bare of any emotion he said: “She’s married to Hector now… I tried to stop them in Las Vegas, but Hector called the police, and I had to run… so…” and he bit his lip, and shook his head slowly.

“I’ve lost them, Michael…”

Michael eyed Sucré for a moment, than he pulled his friend in a tight embrace. “I’m so sorry, man…”

“Yeah…” mumbled Sucrè, and then let go…

Michael nodded, and then walked to Lincoln.

He stood aside of his brother , then he turned to face him. “You’re alright, Linc?”

Linc shrugged “Not really, Bro… but let’s roll, let’s get it done… the earlier we have the money, the better…”

Both turned around, and got back to the car and the waiting men…




********************************

The GPS proved again its worth.

C-Note found the information of the Double K Ranch in the archives of an Army programme.

His notes included the exact position of the old farm – and the GPS showed them the way.

They arrived at the supposed spot as the sun finally rose above the mountains and the heat of it burnt away the last remnants of the cold night. They stood on top of a raising and looked slightly downwards at the part of the prairie, which had formerly been a big farm. But – there was nothing… only plain, soil and some ducked bushes.

It was a beautiful day, but the men had no eyes for it.

They got out of the car, and Michael stepped forward, observing the area accurately.

Then he closed his eyes…

They all watched Michael, who stood stock-still amidst the prairie, with closed eyes… thinking… unaware of his slender fingers were tapping a rhythm against his thigh…

Suddenly he turned, went back to the car and climbed on its roof.

Whilst standing there, a big grin eased his features, and he called out “YES – that’s it! Sucré, take one of the shovels and go in about 120 steps east!”

Sucré stared at Michael, looking quizzically. But he grabbed a shovel and stepped in the direction Michael said.

“Stop! Right there, please plunge the shovel in the ground!” Michael yelled, jumped from the car, grabbed a shovel and walked down to Sucré, his long legs carried him quickly to his target.

Linc and C-Note looked astonished at each other, then they followed Michael's example, grabbed shovels and joined them.

Linc shook his head, and asked: “Ok, Mikey – please explain to me why you decided that this spot in this enormous place of dirt is the one where we have to dig?”

The sarcasm in his voice grew with every word, and with the finish of his sentence his eyes spread sparks of his rage.

Michael eyed him, registered the red head and enraged pants of his brother and started to laugh.

“Well – it’s really no big deal, Linc. Thanks to C-Note we have the exact coordinations where the Double K Ranch had been.

That Ranch had been here for many years, and even though it’s gone you can still see where it has been… Don’t look at me like I’m crazy, Linc!”

The other’s eyed around, but there was nothing than sand, peebles, prairie grass and some lonely bushes. No hint, no clue why Michael had choosen this spot for digging.

Michael grin widened as he looked in their dumbfounded faces. “Hm, how can I explain it… Let’s say you have a new fleecy carpet in your flat. After a few years you move out, and as you remove your wardrobe – what will you find underneath?”

“I know!” Sucré joked: “Dirt and the missing sock from my favourite pair?”

Michael chuckled “Yes, and more: you will have the perfect imprint of your wardrobe in the carpet… And even if you have that special carpet again in your new flat for a few more years – that imprint will not go. It will flatten a bit, but it will still be there… And in the nature it’s the same: for many years you will be able to see the shape of buildings... the soil has a slightly different colour on such places, and you can see the imprint of the buildings, if you stay a little ahead… like on the roof of our car at the hill.

Go – and look for yourself – and you will see what I mean…”

All three man returned to the car, climbed the roof, and finally they saw what Michael had explained: looking down in the slight valley they could see that the soil there, where Michael stood, looked differently than the rest of the plain.

And it looked strange, although overgrown with grass and stuff they were able to make out straight lines and right angles – the structures of the house, and over there would have been the barn…

And at the place, where a wide grinning Michael and the upright shovel were, there was a dark circle to see – there must have been the silo!

All three off them stood at the car roof and had literally their chins on their chests.

“Hey – what’s up? Do you want to stay there the whole day – or what? I could need some helping hands here!” laughed Michael, and pointed at the shovels, whilst pantomiming how to use a shovel in a very overacted way.

Linc recovered at first, and flashed an amused glance at his brother, who was so obviously enjoying himself.

“Sometimes it’s really annoying to have a god damn genius in the family” he mumbled under his breath, jumped from the car, followed by the other still surprised looking men, and joined his brother at the foundation of the former Silo.





********************************

They had worked for about an hour as C-Note’s shovel hit the concrete-basement.

“Gracias a Dios…” panted Sucrè and wiped his forehead with his sleeve.

Michael lowered his shovel and walked to the car – he returned with lukewarm water bottles for everyone and they took a short break.

It was incredibly hot out here and the men got rid of their sweat-soaked shirts, revealing their sweaty glistening muscles to the hot sun.

Then they quickly exposed the old basement before changing to pickaxes…

“Stop!” demanded Michael and all looked puzzled at his long inked frame.

“Linc, do me the favour, take one of the shovels and knock off the basement. If there is an excavation under this concrete, I should be able to hear it. That would spare us some work and time!”

Lincoln nodded, and started to knock off the concrete carefully.

Michael stood nearby, eyes closed, fully concentrated on the sound of the shovel at the basement.

Suddenly he heard a slight difference to the knocks – he rose his hand, and Linc stopped.

Michael stepped closer, pointed and said,

“Specifically this area again, please!” and closed again his eyes, focusing all off his other senses totally at the knocking sounds.

The others tried hard to hear what Michael had heard but couldnt.....

“Yeah! That’s it! This is the point, its deep, but it’s there! An excavation in the basement…” Michael smiled and they all grabbed their pickaxes tighter and started to work again.

They were all so occupied with their hard work that no one noticed, that they were no longer alone in the prairie… watchful eyes were on them and the eyes were anything but friendly…





*******************************

It doesn’t take long and the old, worn concrete conceded under their combined force.

Like Michael had measured there was a hollow space under the concrete and after the first crack they finally got their prize.

Dirty and sweaty, but happy and expectantly they raised two big, heavy bags from the hole. It took their breath away as Michael opened up the first of the bags and revealed bundles and bundles of money.

“Imadre de Dios!“ Sucrè crossed himself and touched the money hesitantly with a shaking hand.

C-Note – a stunned smile in his face – mumbled “whatever you say, man!” and blinked several times in disbelief.

Michael grinned at Linc and his brother grinned back, scratching his head.

“Ok – I’ll go get the backpacks, you can start to split it in five parts and then let’s disappear!” Michael said and turned around to make his way up to the car.

They really had done it – they had found Westmoreland’s money!

Michael felt relief, with that money all should go a little easier for them.

He circled the car to open the trunk – suddenly freezing in mid-step, as he got sight of a car parked in the shadow of their own vehicle.

They must have been so fixed on their work that they hadn’t noticed a car approaching!

And then he heard humming, an amphoric clapping behind and a little stifled noise.




*******************************

With his brain springing busy into action as always, sorting immediately all of the given information out, his smile dropped. The memory of blood - so much blood - the bittersweet coppery scent heavy in the air, a waxen chopped off limb in a puddle of dark crimson, a cry of pure agony and horrified faces flashed through his brain.

Slowly he removed his glance from the foreign car and turned to their own, pure shock in his face.

T-Bag leaned on the reverse side of their car, clapping his hands slowly together in a cocky, nonchalant way, an icky grin on his devlish face.

One of his boots stood at the chest of a blood-blurred, tied up and gagged Tweener, breathing heavily through his broken nose, almost choking on the still flowing blood and the gag in his mouth.

“Yaa know, Pretty – ya’d done there a damn good job in finding theeeese monee for meee, ya did really impress meeee” drawled T-Bag, looked lazily up and down at Michaels sweaty body, his head lightly bent to one side, licking his lips.

Tracing the inked lines of Michael’s undressed upper body with his eyes, he shifted his head to the other side, sneaking his long tongue with a clicking sound back in his mouth and gritted his teeth.

“Seeee, I’ve told yaa a loooooooong time agoo that you’re toooo damn sexy when you’re scared, Pretty…”

He looked down at Tweener and dipped him tentatively with his boots in the ribs and Tweener whimpered slightly.

Michael forced himself to empty his face and eyes of all emotions, shot an iceblue glance at him, and asked coolly: “What do you want, T-Bag?”

With a fluidly motion T-Bag pulled away from the car and stood straight, a vile smile in his face.

“Well, Collegeboy – that’s da sixty-four-dollar-question… what could da gooood ol’ T-Bag want from ya, Michaelangelo?” and the cocky smile on his face crawled under Michaels skin and made him feel nauseous.

He felt the pleading eyes of Tweener on his face and repeated with a calmness he didn’t feel his former question: “What. Do. You. Want. T-Bag?”

An indignant look crept over T-Bag’s features, and he snarled: “No games today, Pretty? That’s nooo good thing to do to me, ya know? I loved those lil’ games da two of us used to play back there in da ooold days in Fox River…” and again he licked his lower lip whilst touching Michael with his glance.

As Michael made no move, T-Bag shrugged and showed again his predatory smile.

“Ya see, Pretty, all I want is my part of that money… and a little private time with ya...” he grinned.

Michael couldn’t avoid his eyes widening in surprise. “You want – what? Why do you think you will get some of the money, and why on earth should I…” but he was interrupted in mid-sentence.

“Don’t talk that way to me, Pretty! Show a lil’ respect to me, got me? Ya cute friend here” and with that he kicked Tweener again “can tell ya what happens to pal’s when they don’t show me da required respect!”

Michael took a breath to regain his composure: “Would you please answer my questions?”

“That’s way better, Pretty… Maybe I don’t need to play too tough with ya if ya stay that way” he smirked. “Ok, business first… I’ll get some of da money ‘cause I’ve worked hard for our lil’ escape, and I’ve lost more than all of ya, don’t I?”

With these words he held up his left hand, and Michael felt his gaze magically attracted to the sight of the lifeless, synthetic limb.

“You all owe that to me, Pretty…” his face showed now such a mask of hatred that a part of Michael started inwardly to scream, and Tweener at his feet squeezed his eyes shut, rejecting the reality.

“And about my second demand, Pretty…” with that he sucked his bottom lip in and gnawed on it and let his eyes again trail salacious over Michael’s sweaty body.

“Well… it has been a looong time coming to this, ya know? And I’m really tired of waiting now” his vile mouth dilated the words with pleasure, well knowing what they would do to Michael.

Michael felt goose bumps crawl all over his skin despite the hot desert air, and shook his head: “You can have some of the money, T-Bag – there’s enough for us all… But you will let the kid go and what’s up with your ‘offer’ – no way.”

Blue steel met deep brown in an unwavering glance, but the brown eyes sparkled with amusement: “I really love it when ya fight me… when ya try to play ya games with me, Pretty… But this time – I’ve own all the aces ... and ya have nothing.” And with that he pulled out a gun and pointed it directly at Tweener.

“Ya do what I say ya do, or da boy’s nothing more than dead, twitching meat – understand?”

Tweeners grey eyes flew open and widened in terror as they got sight of the barrel of the loaded gun, pointing direct between his eyes.

Michael held T-Bag’s hot gaze for a moment and than his shoulders sunk down in defeat. He could not do it… he could not damn that kid to death.

“Now, that’s a fine boy… ya have just earned some petting-points, my pretty one! Ok, and now do exactly what I want ya to do, and lil’ one here may survive our lil’ game…”





*******************************

The good tempered voice of his brother shout out to him,

“Hey man – what have you taken so long to get these back-packs!”

A wry smiling Michael shrugged his shoulders and offered each of them one of the empty backpacks.

“Sorry, I’ve just freshened up a little and had put a new shirt on” he told them, pointing at the grey hoodie with long sleeves which he was wearing now.

“Uhhh – Fish, I would die in those long sleeves…” moaned C-Note.

They were all so happy they had no idea that Michael moved through his own personal hell at the very moment.

“Here – that’s your share, papi!” pointed Sucré, and Michael took one of the bags and started to shovel the half of his money into it.

Then he stood up, and moved back to the car.

“What’s up bro – you have not packed all of your money!” Lincoln asked, but Michael cut him off,

“Ah – sorry Linc, I have forgotten something, please pack it in yours, ok? I’m back in a minute!” and with an apologizing glance at his brother he proceeded his long stride towards the car.

Linc frowned one moment, he thought he had seen a strange emotion buried deep in the turquoise eyes of his little brother, than he shrugged and started to pack the rest of Michael’s money into his own backpack.

But his good mood had gone, he had the strange feeling of a storm rising.

Quickly he finished packing and glanced over to Sucré and C-Note.

“Ok guy’s, we should go now… I would…” but he was interrupted by Sucré, who stared with open mouth directly behind him, and yelled “What the fuck…!”

With a vile taste in his mouth Linc jerked around only to see a foreign car leave, with Michael at the passenger seat.

“Noooooooo!” he screamed, and started running, followed by C-Note and Sucré.

He threw the back packs at the rear seat, jumped behind the steering wheel and rammed the key into the ignition – but the car didn’t start.

With a furious roar he punched the door open again, and jumped out of the car, scowling at the quick decreasing dust in the distance.

His little brother was gone… and he had no idea, why.




****************************************
***Flashback Michael, T-Bag & Tweener***

Michael returned to the car, to T-Bag and Tweener.

He met the questioning eyes of T-Bag, and said soundlessly: “I’ve packed in about $ 700.000,00 in the backpack”

“Well done, Pretty… put it in da car, swing ya cute ass in da passenger seat and here – be a good puppy and use these with ya both hands and da door handle!”

T-Bag - a greedy grin in his face – passed a pair of handcuffs to Michael, and licked his lips.

Michael’s reflexes took in, and he caught the flying object with a fluid motion, showing some skin of his flat stomach in the process and T-Bag rolled and bit his long tongue at that ratchet sight, feeling aroused at the power he had now finally gained over Michael.

“Let the kid go, T-Bag!” demanded Michael.

A incredulous expression, mixed with satisfaction scampered over T-Bag’s face.

“uh-uh-uh – don’t do that, Pretty… Ya don’t wanna loose your petting-points, believe me… Ya don’t wanna loose ‘em…

Get in, and use my lil’ present with yourself and da door handle, and when I’ve had a lil’ foretaste of what to come, than I will let him go!”

Michael looked to Tweener, still crumpled in a mess at the bottom, then his look shot back to T-Bag.

His brain raced, but he saw no possibility to escape at the moment – and so he gave in and did what T-Bag demanded. He approached T-Bag’s car, opened the passengers door, folded his long frame at the seat, attached the handcuff’s at his right wrist, slung the short chain around the door handle and struggled with his long fingers to close the second steel-bracelet around his left wrist.

T-Bags kinky smirk widened at the luscious sight of Michael, restrained to the car, and with his personal powerful mix between cat and lizard he strolled at Michael’s side.

“I’ve done what you wanted – now it’s your turn, T-Bag – let him free”.

“First let’s see if ya really be doing what I want from ya… then I’ll let him go!”

Michael looked up to him with an empty face and blank eyes, desperately trying to give no expression away – but T-Bag knew to well how to read all the little signs of fear.

He was so satisfied that he finally had Scofield where he wanted him – patience always would be rewarded in the end...

“Play nice, Pretty… that’s better for ya, believe me that…” mumbled T-Bag hoarsely, whilst he bent over, his breath started to shallow, and his guts twitched in excitement.

Michaels eyes grew wide in surprise, and before he could react T-Bags rough lips crashed over his own, and his hot tongue enforced his way ravenously between Michaels lips.

Michael desperately tried to pull away, his turquoise eyes a turmoil of panic and disgust, his shackled fists clenching helplessly, but T-Bag didn’t let go, slashing his tongue in Michael’s mouth, licking, sucking, biting at Michaels soft flesh.

Then, with a deep groan he pulled back, nibbling and pursing his lips with relish and a vicious twinkle in his dark eyes, half-closing his eyes in sheer indulgence.

With a voice, now deep of desire and lust, he said “Aaah… Pretty… ya taste soooo sweeet… I will have soo much fun with ya… Ye earlier, ye better – so let’s go…”

He turned back to Tweener, whose big grey eyes looked at his pursuer in absolute terror and kicked him with a sickening, thud very hard in the chest. Tweener doubled over, and rolled up into a ball.

Than T-Bag made quickly his way to the drivers seat, jumped in, and drove off, a malicious smile in his face, whilst Michael felt hot blood running down his raw lip, and wave after wave of nausea crushed over him…


***End of Flashback***
**********************



*******************************

“Damn – Sink! Come here!” C-Note called, but Linc shook his head, distressed trying to clear his mind.

“Linc, come on here!” Sucré’s voice sounded concerned and Linc turned to them and stood stock-still in surprise.

On the earth laid a crumpled figure, like a broken toy – and looked oddly familiar.

With a roar he jumped at the boy, but was caught in motion from Sucré and C-Note.

“No – man – see – he's injured… I don’t know how bad, but if you wanna know what happened be careful…” Sucré stated quietly.

Linc took several deep breathes, and with an inquiring look in his eyes Sucré finally stepped aside.

Tweener really didn’t look good, his usually pretty face was covered with bruises and blood, his nose was not broken – it was smashed and he was damn pale… C-Note had just finished cutting the rope with which he had been tied and with a deep moan the kid held his ribcage.

“Hey – Tweener – what happened. What the hell are you doing here, and who was with Michael? Where is he?” Lincoln exerted himself to stay calm.

With the help of C-Note Tweener sat up, and Sucrè handed him a bottle with water.

Hi gripped it greedily, but after a few big swigs he suddenly doubled over and threw the water up, mixed with blood.

Shit!!!! God. Damn. Shit! That looked really bad… The three man exchanged anxious glances.

“Ok… sshhh… we need to take you to a doctor… but please, tell me what happened, ok?” Linc’s voice was clearly softer now.

Tweener nodded faintly, and told them everything, disrupted from several coughs.

How he found his way to Tooele… how he ran in T-Bag… what T-Bag had done to him last night… That T-Bag had forced him to go into the town hall and that he had found out the location of the Double K Ranch…

They had come here in the early morning hours, suddenly seeing Michael and the others…

Tweener wanted to join them, but T-Bag had knocked him down, had gagged and restrained him.

Than he had waited till all of them started to work and had driven to their parked car.

He had punched Tweener out of the car and had enjoyed watching them work, always humming and licking his lips, sometimes mumbling and stroking his abdomen.

And as Michael had come to fetch the backpacks he had confronted Michael with his demands.

That Michael had given in to rescue Tweener.

At this point his voice broke and a tear rolled down his face, mixing with the bloody saliva at his mouth.

Michael had returned to them to gather the money for T-Bag and in the meantime T-Bag had opened the bonnet and had taken a wire out of the motor and after that he had turned to the motorcycle and had removed the key, again humming and enjoying himself.

Tweener coughed again hard and more blood curled above his pale lips, building bubbles with his exerted pants.

Again the three man exchanged looks, and C-Note shook slightly his head, a sad expression in his black face – T-Bag must have broken some ribs and one of them had obviously injured Tweeners lungs.

He needed a doctor and soon, or he would miserably, slowly and painfully choke on his own blood.

But how could they help him? Firstly their vehicles had been disabled and second all of them where convicted felons.

“Tweener” Linc asked with a surprising soft voice, desperately under control despite the turmoil in his soul. “C’mon, tell me – have you seen what T-Bag had done with the wire and the key?”

Tweener’s eyes started to cloud, but Linc’s question ripped him out of his nearing blackout… With big effort he struggled to say something, coughed hard, spreading little ruby droplets in the process, and managed to point at a bush line a few steps ahead. “He… thrown… there…”

Linc and C-Note rushed at their feet, and stomped to the bushes, and thanks to god – the kid was right – they found the keys and the missing cable.

Linc turned to run back to the car, as C-Note grabbed his arm, and locked his eyes with him.

“Hey – man… what do we do with the kid? Our options are not the best, but if we don’t help him…” he left the sentence unfinished, but it was as clear as water what he wanted to say.

Linc stared at him, and then looked back at the prone body of Tweener, and his eyes saddened… That kid was only two years older than LJ…

What the hell should they do now?
End Notes:
So... I would love if you tell me what you think so far...
Thanks a lot for reading and reviewing! :)
Chapter 6 - The chase by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
Thanks to all who read and comment my story! :)
********************
The chase
*********************

Paul slammed his phone on the bed, and eyed it with great displeasure. Once again it had been that bastard Kim. God, how much he hated him!

He was so pissed now, he wanted to smash something! He growled dangerously while he scowled at the phone.

That whole day, every time it had rung, he had remembered those sparkling blue eyes, he had smelt that enchanting scent of Honey and Almonds…

With abruptly rising hope and a dry mouth he had answered those calls, hoping, it would be her… but every damn time it had been another agent, with news about Sara – or better said with the lack of news about her.

His growl got louder and he turned and punched his fist into the wall.

He welcomed the sharp pain in his hands and leaned his hot face against the coolness of the wall, closing his eyes.

She had bewitched him somehow… Nikki… Nikki…

“Nikki…” he said aloud… only, to hear her name… to taste it… to roll it on his tongue, to savour it, like he would do with a piece of delicacy.

Nikki… She filled his mind, she filled his soul, she filled his night… and that little bitch didn't call him! How dare she!

Anger flashed through him, burned in his heart, in his soul.

Red, hot anger about his stupidity, about losing control, about being dominated by desire for a woman he only had met for one hour!

Fuck… Fuck! „Fuck, Fuck, FUCK!!!!“ he blared and dashed his belongings from the little desktop violently to the floor.

He stood in the middle of his living room, panting and sweating, drawing in big gulps of air, gazing at the mess he had wreaked.

Shaking his head, he reached for the air conditioning unit, and turned it to full power.

Then he started to unbutton his shirt, unzipped his jeans and removed all clothes, allowing the cool air to hit his naked body.

He closed his seablue eyes and felt the little droplets of sweat pearl down his spine, turning slowly into ice, he felt the cool rush from the air conditioning breeze over his muscular body… felt the coolness of air enter his skin, felt it soothing his inner uproar…

Several minutes later he was able to go into the bathroom and take an ice cold shower.

As he finally stepped out of the bathroom into the near freezing living room, he was himself again.

He dimmed the air con and slipped into fresh jeans and a simple white T-Shirt.

He knew now what he had to do.

He had to fulfil a job, he had to find Sara Tancredi and he would find out what she knew. And – his lips curved in a little smirk - it made no difference to search for another girl at the same time, he had to search high and low anyway…





********************

A few hours later his smirk had expanded into a big grin.

He had a trace now – for both women!

And it had been so easy…

He had called several agents and they had passed him all existing paperwork about Sara Tancredi.

Official and unofficial ones…

From his undercover job as Lance he knew her dossier anyway, so he skimmed only through the bulk of information, until he reached the newer entries. What has happened after the “suicide” of her father and after the two aborted assaults at her life.

The dead pedestrian caught his interest.

The young woman had a big affinity to Sara and she was a “Jane Doe”, because she didn’t have any papers with her when she got shot.

Strange thing was that in her recorded assets a handbag was listed.

Paul reached to the conclusion that the victim had in fact owned a wallet with papers… but that someone had taken it.

He thought back to his time with Sara, smiling slightly at the memory of their little funny talk about the blueberry pie and drugs.

She was a beautiful and nice young woman, who’s only fault was to be sensible and caring… she was not able to cut off, all experiences of life come back haunting her at night. That and an abusive childhood had led to her drug problem.

She cared too much for a convict and his – truly – innocent brother, that got her into more trouble…

And if this Sara he knew would witness an assault she surely would come out of her den and would try to help – after all she was a doctor!

He closed his eyes and imagined Sara kneeling aside the victim, trying to soothe her… searching for something to help her… finding a wallet… The woman had been dead within seconds, he knew this from her forensic report.

Sara was – if she was able to push her emotions aside – a smart one… He was sure that - after the dreadful events of this special day and the last weeks - she had been aware of her predicament.

Sara had taken the wallet. That means that she had additional money of an unknown amount and that she was in the possession of nearly matching papers.

With this conclusion he had immediately concentrated his attention to the case of the “Jane Doe” – and that bought him success.

He compared all the “missing people” from the last two days with the dead girl, using a special face recognition programme.

It didn’t take him long before he had his “Jane Doe” – her name was Kelli Foster.

With a satisfied grin on his features he started a national search for that name…





********************

Getting hold of Nikki was a little more difficult – he only knew her first name and that was probably a short form of Nicole or something similar.

He lent back and closed his eyes, recalling their breathtaking meeting yesterday… Her name was Nikki, she was a Briton and had left her homeland to work for her company – a freight corporation? - here in Chicago; she had just achieved a green card, had arrived at the airport within the last week and had no domicile in Chicago until now.

Ok… that was a start… and he would start his search… where he had met her!

He got up, changed into his “officials”, a dark suit, white shirt with black necktie and sun glasses, left his flat and entered his dark grey SUV.

He returned to Chicago City, struggling through traffic to re-enter “The 900 Shops”, the big shopping mall where he had met Nikki.

Without hesitation he strode confidently towards the information section, and asked for the chief of security.

He was led to a nice little bureau and was introduced to Barnabas Grey, CoS of “The 900 Shops”.

After showing his Secret Service Identity Card he asked for the permission to check the video recordings of the surveillance cameras of yesterday, June 1st, especially of the third floor and Starbuck’s.

Mr. Grey was very keen on helping him and led him into a big monitoring room, spoke with one of his employees – Marvin Sandler. He left with the instruction to help Paul with all his needs and left him there.

Knowing very well when Nikki must have entered the Starbuck’s it only took minutes for him and Marvin to find her at the recording.

His heart missed a beat as he recognized her tiny perfect body strolling through the mall. Suddenly she stopped and pulled out her cell phone. Whilst talking he could see the change in her posture, she stiffened and her animated body language showed how much that call affected her.

Slowly she closed her phone and took it back into her handbag – and she appeared somehow lost and unsure.

Several seconds later she seemed to notice her surroundings again and she spotted the Starbuck’s, resolute she walked directly towards the Coffee Shop, unaware of the impersonal spying camera and only seconds before she opened the doors she lifted her sweet sad looking face and glanced directly upwards into the cam, her eyes looking directly in Paul’s, and his breath shallowed, licking his suddenly dry lips.

He cleared his throat, and asked Marvin to copy that video for him.

Half an hour later he was back at his SUV, with a videotape secure in his pocket, and headed back to his home.





*********************

Back at home he searched through his technical equipment and copied the video to his laptop.

He extracted her image from the recording and called a friend who helped him get into the personal data of the USA Greencard Center.

Skimming through the last entries and comparing the pictures he suddenly yelled “Got’cha!” and bend over to learn more about her…

Her lazuline eyes looked at him while he read.

Her full name was Nichola Ann Tyler, she was 28 years old and had been born in Nottingham, England.

Like before with Sara he started to search for her, but this time it was limited to Illinois.

He would find her…

Pleased he leaned back, unable to take his eyes from her beautiful face.




********************

His research had held some surprises for him.

Neither Sara Tancredi nor Kelli Foster could be found… it could be that Sara was still hiding and living from the money she had in her own handbag and what she had found in Kelli’s wallet.

And Nikki… Paul frowned as he thought of her.

Nikki had checked in at Trump International Hotel in Downtown, Chicago at room 117. Until today she had not checked out.

He decided to visit her and was as nervous as a teenager on his first date.

Dressed in well-fitting blue jeans, a buttoned white shirt and black blazer he arrived at her hotel and after mulling it over he bought one long stemmed rose, the colour a dark red, nearly black.

It had been horrifyingly expensive but he doesn’t care… he wanted this so much – hell – he wanted her so much…

As he imagined her beautiful face and how surprised she would be, a brilliant smile enlightened his features.

He stood outside her door, glanced at the “Do not disturb”-sign on the door knob, shrugged, took a deep breath and knocked.

Nothing.

He waited a few seconds, then knocked again.

Still no reaction.

What the…?

Maybe she was out? With her friend?

He glanced nervously at his watch… should he go into the Lobby and wait there for her?

No… he took his wallet, and removed a lockpick from it. A quick look left and right, an expert movement with his hands – and the door was open and with a fluid motion he entered the room.

And stood there in absolute darkness.

He didn’t move, stood stock-still with closed eyes, and listened… nothing…

The room felt empty… the air smelled slight mouldy.

As far as he could tell, this room hadn't been occupied for several hours.

His hand felt around for the light switch and he held his eyes closed whilst activating the light.

Only seconds later he opened his now adjusted eyes and surveyed the room.

In the middle of the bed was a mess of clothing. At the table were several toiletries careless scattered.

Paul noticed that with mixed emotions.

As he opened the wardrobe he found several expensive looking business-suits and he couldn't stop his mind imagining her in these… and she looked damn sexy…

These clothes hung clean and neatly in there…

His eyes wandered to her nightstand, with books tidily stacked, the spines toward the room, so that he could read the titles.

A smile flitted over his face, obviously she was a fan of Thrillers…

He stepped closer to the bed and started to skim carefully through her clothes and belongings. Her scent still lingered on her clothing, only slightly, because they were all fresh, not worn. But it was enough to make him dizzy with longing again…

He picked up a gold coloured scarf and could not resist –he inserted it into his pocket and smirked a bit, before he shook himself out of reverie and concentrated again.

That big pile of things on her bed – it doesn’t made sense… She seemed to be a very fairly person. Why on earth should she make so much mess?

He frowned… Where were the clothes she had worn yesterday?

He tried to remember - it had been… one of those jeans for women which ended in the mid of the calves, with little slits on the side… her lean, soft toned legs had attracted his eyes more than once.

Her feet had been covered with plain black sneakers.

She had worn a black top with V-neck, and it had ended shortly above the hem of her jeans, sometimes her flat belly had peeked out when she moved.

And she had worn a lined jeans-coat, with white, fluffy cuffs.

Now he started to search specific for this casual wear, but he could not find them…

That would mean… if she had not given these clothes into the hotel laundry (he would check that) that she was still wearing them?

No…

Suddenly he had another thought – he hadn’t seen any underwear!

He had not seen any toiletries a woman would use on a daily basis and he had not seen ANY kind of casual wear – there was nothing, only business clothes and other elegant dresses.

He shrugged his shoulders, and stood in the middle of the room… feeling helpless.

Where was she?

“God damn Nikki – where are you? What happened to you?”

His heart dropped, he was really afraid that something terrible had happened to her, although nothing in this room looked like there had been a fight, it looked like she had left in a hurry.

He drew a deep breath.

He would go back home and would check her papers and credit cards… she must have gone somewhere… He could only hope, that she was ok…





********************

It doesn’t take long before he found out that Nikki had drawn all the money available on her account - a total of $ 5,725.00.

Why, on the same day they met, had she had decided to withdraw all her money? To make a mess of her belongings, only taking casual wear?

What the hell had happened, it looked like she was on the run!

He hesitated shortly, than he started a nationwide research with her particulars.

Than he watched the surveillance-video again. Her mobile… she had had a mobile!

Feverish he returned to his laptop and pulled out all the stops… Ah – here it was…

He dialled her number, but got only the Mailbox on… With closed eyes he listened to her sweet voice,

“Hi Peeps, here’s Nikki’s little box, thanks for calling! Sadly my bossy is not at home, but I’m here… please talk to me – I will tell her everything, when she’s back!”

He closed his phone, and called another friend who still owed him a favour.

“Hey Jason – it’s me, Kellerman… could you do me a favour? Please track down a cell phone for me, ok? The number is 315-544-7111…. M-hm… yes… call me back as soon as possible, ok?.... ok… thanks! Bye!”

Than he sat in his room, stroking that little golden scarf, staring at her number, inhaling her scent… waiting for the phone to ring…

Starring at her number… her number… something stirred up in him… numbers… numbers on a note… but not an ordinary note… it was on origami-paper…

The origami-birds that Sara had got from Scofield! But that had been a dead end… but… something… hmmmm…

He grabbed Sara’s dossier again and searched especially for that information that danced around in his mind…

There it was… that Origami had had a number written on one wing: 736-339-8687

And according to the agents who had cleared Sara’s flat after the assault there had been a new envelope with another bird… Paul flipped through the dossier – ah – here it was – the new bird…

He folded it up, and there was another number: 354-452-6665

It was an extra number than on the first bird!

His chin dropped at his chest… that were no phone numbers – it was a code! That bastard had sent Sara a code!

He wanted to meet her!

He knew that Sara had two birds she carried around all the time in her handbag, in the meetings she often had played with them… Damn… one of them must carry the key to the codes!

Just as he searched for a pen and paper, his phone rang.

“Kellerman… yes… it is… what? Are you sure? At the Trump International in Downtown? Ahm… ok… thanks for your help! Bye…”

He closed his phone, and stared into nothing, deep in thoughts…

Nikki’s phone was in her hotel…

He shook tired his head… it doesn’t made sense… he had to go back to the hotel…





*******************

He returned to the hotel… re-entered her room, used his phone and tried to call her… but no other phone rang… He could only hope that her phone was not low on battery…

“Hello?” he heard the phone suddenly answered.

“ah – hello? Who’s there – Nikki? Is that you?“ he stumbled, totally perplex.

“No, it's Antonia Sanchez. This cell phone was found in the lobby of the Trump International Hotel in Chicago, Downtown. I’m the Concierge of this hotel and I have just heard it ring in our little “Lost and Found”-storage. Do you know the owner of this phone?”

Paul skipped quick as a flash through his possibilities and answered,

“Yes – I do! It’s the phone of my wife, Nikki – I just tried to call her… ehem… where do you say is her phone?... aah… m-hm… yeah, I know that hotel… I… I could be there in about 15 minutes and can fetch it… ok… and where exactly have you said the phone was found?.... in the garbage? Ooh… that’s really strange… Ok, thanks for your help, I will be there in a few minutes! Bye!”





********************

He fetched the phone and returned home.

Than he called Kimmie and reported what he had discovered so far.

That little asshole always sounded like he was very displeased and that all with that permanent smile in his voice.

He had mentioned the codes in the birds and Kimmie referred it to another agent… and than he had added patronizing,

“We will give you a hint when we find something in there, Paul!”

Paul gritted his teeth. That guy made him gag.

His thoughts turned back to Nikki.

All he could tell was that she was on the run. She had gathered what could be helpful and discarded what would be a hinderence.

He opened her phone and skimmed through her address book, checking her call-list.

In the last days she had tried several times to get contact with SAR, another cell phone number.

SAR had called back, twice.

The first call complied chronologically with Nikki’s call at the mall, the last call was in the evening of June, 1st. After their meeting in the mall.

She had received this call from SAR – her friend here in Chicago? – and than she packed, discarded her phone and had drawn all her money – and vanished.

This was a riddle… and he wanted to solve it at all costs!




********************

He awakened to the ringing of his cell phone. He shot up and winced immediately in pain – he must have fallen asleep sitting at his desk, looking in her marvellous eyes, her scarf in his hands… .

He had a sore neck and parts of his face felt numb and started just in this second to prickle.

Whilst he grabbed his phone he realized that he actually had slept on his keyboard.

And he had dreamt of her… again… and this time her slender body –

RRRING!

Damn – the phone!

He cleared his throat and tried to open his eyes properly.

“Kellerman?”

“Aaah – good morning Paul – it is always a pleasure to talk to you…” echoed the smug voice of Bill Kim through the link.

Paul grimaced, “Good morning, Mr. Kim.”

“I hope your sleep has been… relaxing? Full of sweet dreams?”

Paul’s chin dropped – what the hell – did this bastard spy on him? He hadn’t missed the hint of menace in Kimmie’s voice.

“I can’t complain. What is the news? Found anything in the number-codes?” he asked with a calm voice… he would never do Kimmie the favour to playing into his little games.

“Yes… we are sure that there is something in this numbers… actually there are thousands of possible combinations, a team is working on it… But it seems like the first numbers build the word “Rendezvous”, at least it is the only combination which builds a useable word… The missing birds you mentioned must contain the coordination for the rendezvous…”

“I knew it… and the second line of numbers – ah… 354-452-6665? What does that mean?”

There was a little uncomfortable silence, than Kimmie spoke again: “These numbers seem to make no sense… if our experts use the same decryption technique they will get thousands of possibilities, but nothing seems to make sense…

I have forwarded these combinations to Mahone, he will inform you.”

Paul fought to suppress a grin – Kimmie sounded so pissed about that…

“Well, thanks, please send me these combinations too…”

During his talk with Kimmie Paul had stopped the screensaver and had controlled his started queries – and a wide smile lit up his face.

Actually he had found a trace of Sara. She had paid with a cash card from a Kelli Foster at a gas station in Phelps, Missouri… yesterday…

“Ehem – Mr. Kim? I think I have and idea of Sara Tancredi’s whereabouts. I'll pack my things and hunt her down. We will stay in contact.” He said snottily, closed his phone without waiting for a response and started to gather his needed belongings.

A few minutes later he was ready, as he reached for his laptop - he suddenly stood stock-still… his eyes widened, and he was totally flabbergasted.

Whilst he had packed his things his second Query had brought success – he had now a lead for Nikki, too.

Strange thing was .......... she had registered in a Motel in… Phelps, Missouri.

He sat down heavily on his bed, his face a mask of denial. Could it be? How big was the likelihood that Nikki’s friend here in Chicago – the friend who had not shown up at their meeting point, the friend with sudden family troubles – that this friend was Sara Tancredi?

He jumped to his feet and searched feverishly for Sara’s dossier and Nikki’s cell phone.

And than he had in black at white: The number of SAR in Nikki’s address book – it was Sara Tancredi’s cell phone number.

Now everything fell into place.

Sara Tancredi was Nikki Tyler’s best friend. And now – so it seems – both woman were on the run. And they ran from him.

One of the women his target for elimination, the other woman the one he had fallen for.

He had the feeling a big fist had crashed in his chest and had ripped his heart out… and he sat now beside it and watched it die.
Chapter 7 - Whereto? by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
Soo... let's look what happens to our girls... :)
***************************
Whereto?
***************************

They sat on the bed in front of the TV and had waited for the Special News Bulletin at 2.

Sara clung onto Nikki the whole time and Nikki held her tight, rocking her like a little baby.

Her sob’s diminished a little, the last minutes before the Special News Bulletin had been cast had only a steady stream of silent tears continued to soak Nikki’s already wet shirt.

Sara’s red-rimmed eyes stared unseeing into the distance, Nikki was not sure how much more her friend could take before she finally would break.

“Hey – Hon… Sar… do you hear me? We have to leave after the broadcast… If it is ok with you, let me go pack our stuff and you should freshen up a little and change, okay?”

With worry she watched that Sara’s eyes took way too long to focus on her… but finally, she seemed to notice her surroundings again and nodded feebly.

Nikki tucked gently a red strain of hair behind Sara’s ear and pulled slowly away.

“Come on, Sar, here are fresh clothes, you have about 10 minutes, than the broadcast will start.” With these words she shooed her into the bathroom…

Damn… what the hell would she do with Sara if Scofield really had been shot?

And how was it possible that the strong woman she had known was now a total wreck?

She sighed… “Constant dripping wears away the stone….” She mumbled and shook sadly her head. Sara’s life story huh… she thought she knew her best friend well, but… now she realized that she had always only known the “sunny side” of the Tancredi-Family…

Quickly she changed her wet shirt into a new one and removed the towel from her hair, rubbing it down.

She had just finished packing, as a very pale, but calm looking Sara returned.

“Are you ok, Hun? Come here – it starts in a minute” she patted a place beside her on the bed.

Sara only nodded, she had no trust into her voice at the moment. There were only two things in her head that she wanted badly now: Michael – or a shot of morphine to blank out the mess her life had become. And both were not available at the moment…

She sat silently down next to Nikki and turned her face to the TV.

Nikki snapped the remote and turned the volume on just in time.

“Hi, here is Sandrine Wolters with our Special Bulletin at 2.

The escape of the Fox River 8 on May, 27th has claimed several victims until now, and today the first of the fugitives has lost his live in a hail of FBI-Bullets."

Sara’s fingers painfully gripped the flesh of Nikki’s upper arm, but Nikki was too distracted to notice it.

The face of the news anchor disappeared and new shots of the crime scene flickered across the screen – a body under a bloody blanket, with dark-red puddles beneath.

The grip on her arm got worse and Nikki winced slightly.

They watched in stiff silence as the examiner and the coroner lifted the body up to a stretcher and a naked, blood-strained arm with the hem of a blue-and-black striped shirt peeked out of the blanket.

Sara murmured “Oh god Nikki, there are no tattoo’s!” as suddenly a single mug shot appeared on the left side of the screen.

“Charles Patoshik, also known as ‘Haywire’, the escaped mental patient from Fox River was shot in the early morning hours in…” the voice trailed off as relief flushed through Nikki.

A deep-drawn sigh escaped Sara’s lips and her body relaxed, the deadly grip of her fingers loosened and with a little sound of relief she wrapped her arms around Nikki, again with tears pooling in her amber eyes – but this time tears of relief.

“Oh Nikki – it’s not him… it’s Haywire… Oh god… I should not be happy about a dead man but…” she inhaled deeply “but it’s not Michael… he lives! Oh Nikki – he is alive!”

"See hun, it’s not to late now… So, come on, let’s roll, they will have the details in the radio too, we should leave.“

A few minutes later both woman were on their way again towards an unknown future.




*****************************

They had a short stop at a gas station in Phelps and Sara bought a GPS System, several sandwiches and paid for the fuel.

With a sense of remorse she used the credit card of Kelli Foster, but she wanted to save the cash she and Nikki had… and by the way: who would know that she had these cards?

Back in the car Nikki read the manual of the GPS and started it.

“Ok… I had thought we could drive in turns… so we would be much quicker. Hm… let’s see… We are now in Phelps, Missouri…

Let’s try to reach Albuquerque before we make the next big stop… I know, it’s a long way, but…”

She shrugged uneasily “… I don’t know… I have the feeling we should get as much miles as possible between you and the windy City… “.

Sara nodded and a slight smile played at her features, lightening up her face.

“Ok, let’s do it… who drives first?”

Nikki was happy to see her friend smile, even if that smile was a small one.

“Me, Hun… me… I think I’m able to drive a few hours and then I can hopefully sleep…”



*****************************

And so they made their way towards New Mexico.

They ate the sandwiches and Nikki told some of their old stories, remembering how much fun they had in those days…

Sara laughed sometimes and had spoken about a few other funny events.

Then had Sara picked up her handbag and skimmed through it’s depths…

She had carefully taken out the Origami-things Michael had done for her and told Nikki with a soft voice about the riots and how Michael rescued her… and told her about her birthday. While she spoke, she constantly rolled the rose in her hands.

Nikki couldn’t believe Sara had been in such danger in the prison – where had been the bloody cops in there to protect her? What if Michael has not come to rescue her?

She frowned suddenly “Ehem… Sar? How did he get to you? I mean – he was in his cell, wasn't he?”

Sara remained silent, her gaze locked on the twirling rose in her hands… And just as Nikki thought she wouldn’t get an answer, the soft voice told her: “I’m not sure… he said he had seen me on a surveillance screen and that I was in trouble. So he was my ‘knight in shining armour’ and rushed to my rescue.

Now – after his escape and knowing what he had done back in Fox River – I’m sure he used a part of his escape plan to come to the infirmary.”

She sighed. “I hope so much that I will have the chance to ask him about that when – if – I see him again… he has to play a big question-and-answer-game with me, that’s for sure!”

Nikki chuckled: “Damn right girl, but first I have to kick his arse for hurting you… THEN you can ask him whatever you want and I promise you: he WILL answer!”

Both of them giggled about that image Nikki had painted, and Sara’s hand stroked lovingly above the Crane’s…

Suddenly she remembered the numbers on it. And that one bird was missing… no, stop! Don’t think back, she thought… she shivered slightly.

To abstract herself from the awful events that had happened yesterday she searched through her handbag for pen and paper, and started to play with the numbers.



******************************

Nikki glanced over to her mumbling friend, who was scrawling numbers in a pad, than crossing them out again, frowning at the poor birds and then started all again.

In about an hour later Sara snuffled angrily and rolled her stiff neck to release the tension in there.

“No success, hm?” Nikki asked understandingly.

“Hmmmpf” was the grumpy reply.

Nikki grinned – she knew Sara too well… What Sara hated the most was a problem she could not solve… like the birds in her lap.

What she needed now was a little distraction.

“Ehem… Sar? Have you some chewing gum or something like that in your monster of a handbag?” Nikki asked her innocently.

“Monster of a handbag?” laughed Sara. “Monster of a handbag, Tyler? Hey, I have that handbag within living memory!”

“Yeah, Tancredi – I thought so, it looks that old…” joked Nikki.

“Tsss… you’re saucy, Tyler!” blustered Sara grinning and pulled her handbag up, skimming again through its depths.

“Hm… where have I…” muttered Sara, and started to unpack her handbag in effort to find the chewing gum.

“Ah – here – it’s a multi-fruit, I hope you like it…” and she gave it to Nikki, who happily accepted it.

Than she started repacking her bag and as she was stuffing her new prepaid mobile back into it, she suddenly hesitated.

She arched an eyebrow, and examined the phone closely.

Nikki, who had watched the strange behaviour asked “is anything ok, Hun?” and Sara answered absently “Hm, thanks… yes… I wonder, if…”

And started to juggle with the numbers again.



**********************************

“Yes! I have it – I have it!!!!” Sara yelled suddenly some time later.

Nikki, totally startled by her enthusiastic scream jumped in her seat and lost almost control over the car.

“Sara!!!! Damn – don’t do that again!“ she bawled, her heart still jumping.

“Hups – ehem… sorry… I – I mean… sorry, Nikki. It’s only… I’m so excited – I finally have deciphered it!”

Nikki was nonplussed “You did it? Really? How?“

Sara beamed of pride… that had really been a tough nut to crack, but…

“The cell phone! After searching for the chewing gum I saw the number pads of my cell phone, and it made CLICK! And suddenly I knew how to crack it!

And it’s actually a simple trick, when you know, how to look…

Ok… after waking up in the hospital I found the first crane in my handbag – Michael must have hidden it in there in the infirmary.

That first bird has a written message in it: ‘There’s a plan to make all of this right’ and three lines full of dots.”

She held up a white origami-crane with opened wing, and Nikki glanced quickly at it – and decided it was time for a little stop.

“Wait a second Sar, I'll pull over… it’s too distracting to listen to your explanations while driving” she chuckled at her glowing friend.

2 miles later was a good opportunity to stop and Nikki jumped at the chance.

She yawned, and said: “Come on, Sara – lets go outside… It’s almost 6 now, I need a little fresh air – take your numbers and birds with you!”

They got out and stretched their stiff muscles.

Then Sara resumed her explanations.

“Here – see – the lines of dots? Every line is for one crane! The first line is the key to the code at the first crane he sent me, the second line for the second, and so on!

Ok, wait…” she fished for the first crane she had received, the blue one.

“Look – the numbers on the first crane are 736-339-8687. And if you count the dots in the first line you get these numbers: 322-124-3354

The numbers tell me which field I have to choose to transform the dot-numbers on my first bird into letters! Here – I show you – look at the cell phone… you see the number-field?

Ok… wait… the first number on the bird is 7, the first dot-number is 3… when I now look at Button 7 on the cell phone the third letter is “R”…

Next one… the bird says 3, the dots say 2… Button 3, second letter is “E”…

If I do this with all of the numbers on the first bird – I will get the word “RENDEZVOUS”!

Nikki – he really… I think he loves me really… he put that bird into my handbag IN Fox River… He gave me a possibility to see him again - while he was still in Fox River! Before I had become useless for him!”

Sara beamed … Her amber eyes were bright and her face beautiful in the light of the sinking sun.

Nikki could only shake her head: “Wow – Sara – that’s really tricky! And I’m so happy for you…” and she gave her friend a big hug…

“So… do you know where you should meet him?” she asked.

“Hm… no… I have to ‘translate’ the second crane… one moment…”

With her tongue between her lips Sara worked quickly with the second crane.

Nikki watched her friend and felt relieved… still too skinny and pale, yet Sara had found a way out of her misery… she was like the Sara she could remember. Thanks to god that it hadn’t been Scofield who had died this morning… Nikki could tell his death would have destroyed Sara completely.

“Here – that’s it! The code on the yellow one is 786-369-6468, the dots are 422-131-2231… the letters are: SUNDOWNHOT.”

“Ehem… what? Sundownhot? A hot sundown? Is he mental – what should that mean?” Nikki asked surprised.

Sara shrugged her shoulders “I have no idea… and the bad thing is: there was a third bird… for the third line… It was in my mail yesterday, but I don’t have it ‘cause of that bastard who waited for me in my flat and tried to kill me… So I have no idea what Michael wants to say me with these messages…”

Nikki hugged her spontaneously. “Hey Sar, you cracked the code – we will find out where he wants to meet you… You will see!

Come on, lets get back into the car, I will drive for two more hours, and I think it’s time that I tell you what happened to me in the mall in Chicago… You have no idea…”



*****************************

And so Nikki told Sara everything about her little “tryst” with Paul.

Sara was astonished about the sudden boldness of her friend.

“You… did… what?” she giggled and a second later Nikki joined her laughter.

“Yeah – I know… stupid, huh? You know me, that was SO not me… I mean… Ok, ok - it was SO me… I’m really no wallflower… but I have never picked up a total stranger in a coffee shop…” said Nikki, her voice shaking slightly.

Sara heard the tremor in her friend's voice and immediately became serious.

“Nikki? What’s up? What aren’t you telling me?“ she asked with concern.

For a few moments it was quiet in the car…

The sun was going down on them and the red beams filled the car, playing hot with Sara’s now burning red locks, caressing gently Nikki’s darker tresses, setting ruby highlights in it.

Nikki chewed at her bottom lip.

It was not so that she would have difficulties in opening up to Sara… it was only… that she had no idea what to think about Paul and about her feelings for him.

And there was no way to deny that she actually had feelings for him… and what feelings they were…

Shaking herself out of her reverie, she realized that Sara was still looking at her, still waiting for an answer.

“Eehh… sorry… I was… kinda distracted, I think…”

She drew a deep breath.

“It’s not that easy, Sar… ‘cause I have no idea what to think or what to feel. Paul, he…” she stopped in mid-sentence, suddenly again feeling his strong hands at her face and his last kiss… and all the swirling feelings boiled up into her and she felt tears pooling in her blue eyes.

Sara’s eyes grew big and she reached out for her friend, taking Nikki’s free hand in her own, squeezing it reassuringly.

“Wow… so it happened to you, too? Like we had dreamed about as girls? Love at first sight?” Sara asked huskily.

Some more quiet moments between them and than a hesitant nod from Nikki.

“Yeah… it happened to me, too… and it hurts so much, because… I won't see him again, Sar…” and with that she pulled back her right hand from Sara to wipe away the now overflowing tears.

“Oh Nikki… Sweetie… but… why? You told me he had given you his number? If you are bold enough to ask a stranger out, I’m sure it is more easy for you to call him, don’t you?”

Soundless Nikki replied “I won't call him. I just… can’t. He… uhm… Sara, I followed him… and… he’s dangerous, I fear…”

Sara looked at Nikki, a puzzled look on her face.

“Dangerous? Why on earth should he be dangerous?”

Nikki glanced quickly sideways to Sara, not sure, how steady Sara was.

But all what she could see in the amber eyes of her friend was love and real concern.

She shrugged her shoulders “He… He met up with a suspicious looking guy, and they went to a dark grey SUV… I could see them opening that SUV – and there where weapons everywhere, Sar…”

Sara’s chin dropped, and she eyed at Nikki with a bewildered emotion.

“He wore a strange device, kind of a headset or something like that and said they had what they needed, that a man called ‘Irons’ would do now what the ‘Company’ wanted him to do.”

A sharp intake of breath forced again her eyes away from the now almost dark street.

“Irons? Like in Timothy Irons?“

Nikki looked back on the street again: "I don’t know Sara – who is it?”

“Timothy Irons is an ambitious young politician from Chicago. Do you think they will blackmail him with something?”

“I have no idea, Sar… but… it could be something like that…”

Sara got silent now… that information was unswallowable for her.

After a few moments, she shrugged helplessly her shoulders.

“Oh Nikki… that sounds really like trouble… I don’t know what to say… I’m sorry…”

Nikki only nodded, she was not able to answer through the lump in her throat.

God… how could she feel this way for a stranger? A man she only met for an hour, a man who seemed to be a dangerous individual, who’s mission seems to be to gather information for blackmailing and to kill people?

How could her heart ache for a man like that?



******************************

(((Song: “Japanese Blue”, Artist: Silje Nergaard)))

It had taken them in about 7 hours crossing Missouri and to enter Oklahoma.

In the suburbs of Oklahoma City they had rested in a little diner, eating and chatting about this and that.

Sara’s mood had changed, she was still grieving for her father and heartsick for Michael, but it all seemed so strange to her, as if it all happened to another person, not to her.

A little part of her was thankful for her now fogging memory of what had happened to her father and Kelli Foster, and the awful assault on her life in the four walls she had called a home.

On the other hand, the training she had undergone as a doctor knew deep down that she was suffering a trauma, that the aftershock of her gruesome experiences was only soothing her mind for the moment and that the truth would hit her later with full force.

But she shoved it all aside, she only wanted to think forward, she MUST do this to remain sane.

Nikki was too tired now to think straight.

They changed, it was Sara’s turn to drive.

Nikki had been fallen into sleep the second she had entered the car and settled her tiny body into the passenger seat.

Sara smiled at Nikki’s coiled up form and searched for a radio station with mixed music – not the country music which had been played in the diner.

It was in about 11 p.m. as they were on the road again, driving towards Albuquerque in New Mexico.

Whilst driving in the darkness with her sleeping friend beside her, listening to music from the radio Sara had plenty of time to think about all that had happened.

Her thoughts of course were doing what Sara didn't want to do… they ran back to Fox River… to her meetings with Michael and what they meant to her.

She tried to analyze them with the knowledge she had now.

But… it was too difficult. Because she was too distracted.

Damn… she chuckled to herself… That man was way too gorgeous… just thinking of him without having him near seemed to fog her mind with… with longing… and not to speak of the reactions of her body…


Suddenly a song cut it’s way through her whirling feelings, and she was taken aback. The tender smoky voice of a woman found with her lyrics and the strange, but pleasant mix of slight Jazz and asian tones a direct way into her still aching heart.

*** Can’t count the hours - Blame the miles ***
*** And say they keep me - From your smile ***
*** For you are here - No oceans lie ***
*** Between my lover’s arms and I ***

That song reminded her somehow of Michael, of their time at Fox River… with him so near and at the same time so far away… she had been aware that she had waited all day for him to show up, to see him, to feel his eyes on her, hoping he would be in the mood for this little smile of his, that made her stomach flip…
It had been pure torture to have him so near to medicate him – but always knowing they were not allowed to share more than hidden glances and an incidental touch every now and than.

The times she had seen him out in the yard – to see him through the fence… she had always felt a jolt of pain… it had felt so wrong to see him behind bars…


*** I see your smile - But where are you ***

He had always been an enigma to her… she had craved to solve it, to find a way behind his cover… She had never known “which” Michael would enter the infirmary… the relaxed Michael, with his irresistible half-smile in the corner of his mouth and the mischief twinkle in the turquoise depth of his eyes?

Or the inaccessible one, closed up and with steel in his gaze?

Not to forget the vulnerable, the hurt Michael, suffering a new injury or a new violation of his perfect body…

*** Why won’t you dare - To need me too ***

Some days they had been so close, she had the feeling he would let her in, would let her help him… and the next day he was like a stranger, totally withdrawn, blocking her out…

*** I’d bring you joy - To light the way ***
*** A ray of sun - To thaw your days ***

Oh, how much she had wanted to help him… that was what had really got her into trouble… she had to much invested in this inmate… she had allowed him to come too close… she had not been able to resist his charms… she wanted to be there for him…

*** Please let me through ***
*** I don’t ask much ***

Her growing feeling of loosing herself, of falling for him… she had felt like falling back into addiction… and had seen no way out… if he only had let her in…

*** But the slightest touch ***

… of his long, slender fingers had filled her with electricity, with jingling desire…

*** Of Japanese blue ***

… Oh… and his eyes… changing between turquoise-green to blue… all of him had been fluent, in restless motion… she had never been able to get hold of him…


*** I beg of you ***
*** My life is such ***

… a lonesome hell…

*** It needs a touch of Japanese blue ***

She needs his love… she needed it back in Fox River – and now, out in the world, running from her unknown foes, she needed him so much more…

All she wanted was to see his green-blue eyes again…

She had always tried to avert her eyes in the useless effort to avoid his stunning glance… She had known if she ever would fail in this attempt, she would really lost herself in his translucent eyes.

And she had failed in this… so badly…


*** I see that life - Has taken toll ***

And his brother – Lincoln – had faced death on the chair… that had broken him… Now she knew that he had only been in prison in a desperate attempt to break his innocent brother out of it… but – something must have gone wrong…

His brother had really been on his last journey… there had been no way out… she had been there… she had been forced to check on Lincoln, to do this absurd checks, if this man was healthy enough to die… she had been there… she had witnessed their last words, their last embrace…

Her heart had broken along with Michael’s… his eyes… oh god… his eyes… his lost and shattered soul could be seen in his eyes… this terrified and unbelievable lonesome glance was burnt into her soul… she would never forget it…

*** Your shattered dreams - I can’t make whole ***

She remembered how Lincoln had asked her to be there for his brother, after his death… He said he would need her…

That statement had broken down the last remnants of her defence… Lincoln had in a way hustled her into the arms of his younger brother…

*** But let me through - And I will stay ***
*** Close by your side - To comfort you ***

For a brief second she closed her eyes… How could a song so fit to her feelings with what had happened?

*** Please let me through ***
*** I don’t ask much ***
*** But the slightest touch ***
*** Of Japanese blue ***
*** I beg of you ***
*** My life is such ***
*** It needs a touch of Japanese blue ***


Still caught in the magic of the music she listened to the soft tunes of the japanese flute dancing with the soft Jazz, then she sighed, turned the radio off and tried to concentrate at the dark road, replaying the heard song in her head again and again...





*****************************

The sun had already risen and touched the world around with it’s playful rays as Nikki stirred in her seat.

She sat up and glanced around with sleepy eyes, yawning and stretching.

“Hey Sar – morning… where are we, and what’s the time?” she mumbled, rubbing her still tired eyes.

Sara yawned back, and smiled slightly “Hey, sleepyhead – it’s about 5 a.m., and we are now somewhere between Amarillo in Texas and Tucumcari in New Mexico… and I just thought that I need to stop, I need some air…”

“Ohh… that’s a good idea…” Nikki nodded and turned to search for a box with cookies and a water bottle.

Sara stopped and got out of the car. She was very tired now… but at the same time a strange feeling of contentment filled her, she could not quite understand.

The chill of the night lingered still in the air and made both shiver. But it was beautiful to watch the sun rise and Sara and Nikki enjoyed being together…

They shared some cookies and water together and decided they would drive to Tucumcari, taking a motel room only for showering and changing clothes. After that they would seek for a gas station and refuel the car – and then continue their ride.

It was a little crazy, but at the very moment Nikki was awake and fit, Sara’s eyes started to flicker… and Nikki was not in the mood to sit in a boring motel again, so they would fresh up and then she would drive again and Sara could sleep.

And – Nikki had to admit – she felt the urge to travel as quickly as possible.

Whilst driving she had time to think about the dreams she had last night.

Despite all her hopes of being too tired for dreaming, she had had a very vivid dream of Paul. A really naughty one… just thinking of it flushed her cheeks and her breath caught. Nikki was relieved that Sara was looking tired and abstractedly at the countryside.

She bit her lip… she felt still so… hot… her blush deepened.

No… she needed that shower… really…
Chapter 8 - Got lost by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
*sigh*
This chapter was very hard to write for me...
But I hope you all will find it enjoyable - despite of what's happening... *glances nervously around*
*****************
Got lost
*****************

He sat in the passenger seat, his hands uselessly dangling in chains on his right side, his head lowered, trying to block out the constant talking of the man beside him.

Since they left his brother and the others they had been driving, but Michael’s mind was somehow too fogged to concentrate. He knew he needed a plan and quick! But every time he started to think about his situation, he ended up numb, lost in his personal hell. And T-Bags little touches now and then and his insinuating allusions to what would come didn't help him keep it together.

Michael was not sure how long he could stand it, to fight T-Bag and whatever he had planned for him.

He only needed to hear his voice … to hear how he stretched the words in his own southern sing-song and he felt sick.

The memories of Fox River and T-Bags omnipresent menace flooded him and he struggled hard to suppress his panic, which was vibrating into him, almost directly under his henceforth thin surface of self-control. But with each time his effort to stay calm was so much bigger than before and the next bubble of panic could be the one that would burst and that would lure him into destruction.

He could handle many things… like pain, exhaustion or mere impossible challenges.

But… this special menace which T-Bag was emanating… it drained his sanity, it suffocated his personality, it terrified his soul, it touched a spot of him he had hidden so deep he had almost forgotten it… almost…

…until now…

A blurry hint of something awful… of… pain? Desperation? Agony? Alltogether at once? graced his awareness, interweaved with the elusive wish to die, to let it end, anyhow… but please… let it only end… let the tantalus end…

Michael could feel bile rising, and tried desperately to gulp it down again… He squinted his eyes in a last-ditched attempt to shut that box of Pandora in his head again.

He could not deal with it, not now – not ever!

But it was too late, something was lurking in his mind, something evil… a vile memory… he could feel it… Oh god… he could not let it happen, he could not bear to relive it again…

And there they were again… T-Bags greedy fingers crawling across his upper thigh, and he flinched once again aside, in the futile attempt to abscond the harassment.

“Stop it!” he snarled, but to his horror with a shaky, unsteady voice, sounding as helpless as he felt.

In a mocking tone T-Bag drawled “Now now – Pretty – is that da right way to talk to ya master? If ya be such snotty to me ya will regret it soon, ya know?” snickered T-Bag, pursing his lips into a lazy smile.

Michael scowled at him, but T-Bag shot only an amused glance back, and said with a hoarsely voice “Ya mine now… no mobster, no bullhead of a brother can save da tattooed skin now, Pretty – ya aaaaall mine… from ya gorgeous face to ya eight yummy toes… I’ll wanna play all those delicate li’l games I know with ya… and y’re my leading man in these…”

T-Bag’s features resembled more to a cat which had been fallen into a bowl of cream, as Michael’s lean body started slightly to shake.

This was not kept a secret to T-Bag, who bared greedily his teeth.

Suddenly more soften he said “Hush-hush Pretty… play fine with da good ol’ T-Bag, and I’ll have no inducement of making our li’l … well… union… too hurtful for ya… If ya play nice with meee, if ya let me do what I long to do to ya – who knows? Maybe I’ll let ya live… And… da’s noo need to tell anyone but da two of us, ya know? And if ya live, and nobody knows… well… It’s like it never has happened… ya see? That’s if – of course – if ya play nice… so… use da li’l brain of yours, Pretty… don’t fight me… ‘cause if ya fight me…”

T-Bag’s whole face shadowed, his eyes rolled slightly back, his tongue played with his teeth, whilst he was gnawing at the inside of his cheeks and his voice darkened with threat before he slowly continued:

“If ya fight me… I’ll hurt ya… in places ya never knew existed… and I will make it a loooong time coming for ya… before I’ll close ya eyes forever…”

Something in Michael burst into pieces hearing those words. Familiar words… Words, which forced him to travel back in time…

Dark and vile memories swept over him, larger hands on him, rough hands with dirty, broken nails, darkened from motor oil and grease, touching, kneading, stroking, twitching, punching, the highly detailed images burnt into his brain forever, including the feeling of pain and indignity, the taste of blood and saliva, the smell of sweat, unwashed bodies and worse…

It was too much… he could not handle it any longer… he knew he would break…

The tension in his body was too big, his nerves stung out, his teeth gritted so hard he feared they would burst, his heart pounded so loud in his head he thought it would explode… He had to stop it, or all would come down on him at once.

He struggled to concentrate on anything else, anything what had nothing to do with this situation, with his memories…

He shut T-Bag out… he blocked the memories out… he zoomed into himself… into his safe room… in that little safe place that had always been there, that had been used so much in the darkest days of his childhood, that had been missing from him in the last years, only shortly visited as he had been in the SHU in Fox River… but it was still there, alluring him now with its brightness and safety…

Mathematics… numbers… prime numbers… yes… that’s a good one, he started eagerly to list the prime numbers, that was easy, and it was a good thing, it could help… it must help… numbers would not hurt… they had never hurt…

His body relaxed, his mind thankfully distracted with facts, which could not harm him. Seeking sanctuary in a place where no one could follow him, where nobody could offend him again.





************************

Teddy had stopped his endless chatting and had watched Michael closely for the last minutes… something was wrong with him, that was obvious.

He frowned at the suddenly relaxed – no – rather lifeless figure beside him.

Ohhh… he felt his appetite rising whilst looking at the delicious young man… how his lean body had glistened in the sun, covered with sweat…

Just thinking of the boy’s tattooed, sweaty body made him… expectant of what was to come.

Rolling his tongue between his sharp teeth he longed to taste him again… to feel him shiver and squirm under his touch again… to bite him again… his blood had been so… sweet… he loved to bite his victims. It was such an intimate thing to taste them like this, to extract their pure pulsating life, to thril of their Angst…

Again he glanced over to Michael.

Something was not right.

He had broken spirits before, but he had not even started to work with this one until now – well, except of that well-earned kiss before – and Pretty looked already beaten?

That was not like he wanted it… Pretty’s intelligence, his resolution, his determination, his will to fight – that was what made that boy so attractive for him.

That and – of course – his perfect body, with that intricate unique Tattoo… and not to forget his turquoise eyes… since he had first met him, since the death of Maytag, he had wanted to see those vivid eyes break.

And he wanted to be there when it happened… memorizing this moment of his revenge forever…





**********************

Teddy drove back to Lynndyl, a little village in about 2 hours away from Tooele, where he had paid for a little bungalow.

He had used it already with Tweener and his grin widened in memory at those enjoyable moments with the kid, where he had let him pay for his cheek back in Fox River.

Despite what others said – Teddy knew that all in life was guided from kismet.

Patience always pays in the end.

Running into Tweener the night before and now having Pretty at his service was enough evidence to prove his theory.

He parked behind the motel in the parking lot, as near as possible to the bungalow and scrutinized the area closely.

No one could see, all the curtains were closed, no breeze was moving in the hot day, the blistering heat reverberated from the concrete and sand.

“Ok, pretty one… I’ll tell ya what we’ll do now… do ya hear me?”

He fixed his gaze on Michael’s face and arched an eyebrow at his non-responsive companion.

Teddy gritted his teeth… No… that was really not how it was supposed to be… he had to do something about that.

He turned to Michael, narrowed his mouth to his ear and hissed “Listen closely, college boy, ‘cause da good ol’ T-Bag say it only once… If ya try to play now one of da lil’ games of yours, and anybody notices - then I’ll send him to his Maker and I’ll take my time with it. And for aaaall of da sputtering and aaaall of da screams are only ya to blame… get me, Pretty?

Behave, do, what I want ya to do, and all’ be fine…”

Michael showed no reaction.

Teddy let out an impatient sigh. Gee, that’s going to be fun, he thought sarcastically.





*********************

He unlocked the bungalow, then returned to the car and removed the handcuffs from Michaels right wrist through the still opened window.

He opened the door, staring down in Michael’s blank face.

The beautiful eyes of the boy were wide open, his pupil’s dilated, his gaze foggy. Pretty seemed to be far far away.

With a snort he grabbed the lean frame and half dragged, half carried the younger man into his bungalow.

Shaking his head in disbelief he pushed Michael onto the bed.

Michael dropped down heavily, whimpered and curled himself immediately up into a ball, closing his eyes in the process.

Teddy shut the door, locked it and approached the windows, peeking through the curtains.

No movements outside, not even birds were to see – all had fled the heat.

Satisfied he turned and let his gaze hungrily travel over Michael’s body – and let out a frustrated sigh.

Damn again. That was not how he had visualized things…





*********************

Michael was in a constant daze… He was still juggling with numbers, not aware of what was happening around him in real life.

As he suddenly felt hands on him his concentration started to trail away, the numbers suddenly danced and mixed and with a whimper he struggled to win control again.

But now foggy memories started to attack his shelter, memories of violence and pain, of a sweaty body and heavy grunts, of humiliation and suffering.

Of greedy hands on him…

Without knowing his body repeated a movement which had been a habit so many years before… as he had been a lonely, abused 10 year old boy… he curled up into a ball, embracing himself in the futile attempt to find comfort and shelter on his own…




**********************

Teddy decided to sleep first before he would play with his new toy.

It had been a long day, and thanks to his… activities… with Tweener the night before he had a certain lack of sleep.

So he had shackled the boy to the bed frame and taken residence on the other bed… and slept for several hours full of stimulating dreams…

*** °°° ***

The sun had gone down on Lynndyl and slowly the predator came to life again.

He opened his brown eyes and sneaked a peek at the sleeping beauty on the other bed… well… maybe sleeping was not the right word for it…

Pretty had turned, his eyes are closed and his perfect face was a mask of fear. He was squirming and shaking his head slightly, mumbling “N-nooo, please…” with a strange, naïve voice…

Teddy growled and with a pliable movement he slid off the bed, stepped over to the other bed and swept his hand slightly over Michaels trembling form, feeling the heat of his body, feeling him flinch away from his touch…

A sleazy grin spread over Teddy’s features, his eyes now burning with an unsacred fire…

And than he took a long, hot shower – he was in no rush to do what he wanted to do with Pretty…





**********************

Clad in a towel and with still wet skin he re-entered the sleeping room and decided it was on time to appraise Pretty’s tattoo.

The boy had not moved since he left for shower.

That behaviour touched something deep within Teddy, something he could not quite lay a finger on at the moment… but… hmmm….

He shook the distracting thoughts away. The Tattoo. Now.

He approached Pretty and slid his shirt up above his body.

Michael whimpered and tried to move away from his hands, all without waking up.

But Teddy was merciless – he shoved the hoodie up and with force above Michael’s head and his cuffed hands – it was time for Pretty to wake up… he needed him awake so that the games could begin.

Michael’s eyes flew open, his face the face of a trapped animal, his eyes big and vivid. With a stifled noise he tried to creep away backwards despite the handcuffs cutting deep into his wrists.

Teddy was now really annoyed - what on earth was eating at the boy? Where was his common sense? It was no fun to find him already broken!

Anyway… he let his eyes greedily travel over the half naked form of Scofield, wallowing in the sight of his perfect chest, of his fascinating tattoo…

He used his fingers to follow the fine lines of ink, feeling Pretty squirm beneath, but paid no attention to him – his eyes were transfixed on the details, his tongue clamped between his teeth, his arousal growing, his breath quickening.

Teddy examined mumbling the dying angel in front, caressing his wings, sliding his fingers around Michaels waist, pressing down his struggling body with his full weight, enjoying his resistance, grunting in pleasure while touching his soft skin, his perfect body. Making him his playground…

Than his fingers felt the scar.

Perplexed he stopped the movement and knitted his brows… felt again with his fingers… there was a scar… and less than an inch above the next… it felt like… several scars, but in strange patterns.

What was that? What had Pretty hidden under his tattoos?

Unwillingly he let go and strolled in a lazy, nasty manner to the wall, switching on the big lights, blinking in it's brightness.

Then he returned to Michael, forced the younger man down again and looked closer, but because of the tattoo he still needed his hands for help, the tattoo covered the scars well.

Studying with eyes and touch what his fingers had felt Teddy’s jaw clapped suddenly open, his face a mask of disapproval and shock as he revealed what his discovery meant.

He heavily sat back on the other bed and eyed at the buckled figure of Michael.

“Gee, Pretty…” he heard himself say from a distance, with a somehow weird voice, his arousal had gone with a single stroke.

“So we’re kind of brothers, Pretty, ya and me… ya have bad Karma as well, don’t ya?” staring at the spot at Michaels stomach and side, where he now knew the inked flesh held a bad, dark secret… several marks of cigarette burns and deep scars which delivered a gruesome message…

‘Retard’ was written on him, sliced deeply with a knife, everlasting engraved in his soft flesh, marking body and soul forever in a perverse blight.







*******************

How long he sat on the other bed and stared – he was not sure.

His face was darker now, his eyes… lifeless and cold. He was sucking at his cheeks and from time to time his tongue slipped out of his mouth, to be rolled between his lips and slipped back into it's oral cavity again…

He stared at the half naked tattooed man who didn't move and barely breathed… but he was not aware of doing that.

What he saw, was his own past.

His own abusive childhood.

His suffering at school, his suffering on the school bus – and especially his suffering at home.

At home there had been his mother… he loved her so much, his momma…

She was so gentle and loving, but just to think of her was painful.

She had always lived in fear and mostly when he returned from school she had new bruises, some new cuts, a split lip, or a black eye.

Once or twice she was barely able to walk, tears streaking her cheeks when she - despite her pain - worked in the stables and in the kitchen…

Everytime he asked her what happened she only would answer slowly with her slight blurry voice that she had been clumsy again, that she had fallen over an object, that she had cut herself, that one of the cow’s had kicked out…

But he had known this was bullshit… he had known that it was been his father.

He knew his father loved him, his father said it daily… several times… and on several occasions.

And his father didn’t want him to see “disciplining” his mother. So he did it when Theodore was at school.

When he was back at home his father ignored his mother. Totally.

He pretended not to see her swollen face, not to notice her wincing and grimacing in pain whilst doing all the work alone, not to hear her sobs.

His father had better things to do.

Like watching his son.

Like making sure that his son read a dictionary and learnt all the words and synonyms and cross-references by-rote.

Like forcing him to recite what he had learned in front of his drunken friends, who always seemed to take residence in the living room.

Like touching him whenever he could.

Like showing him his overflowing love in a very special way… a way Teddy could never forget… a way he was forbidden to talk about.

One day he missed the bus and had returned home, silently sneaking back, fearing what his father would do to him.

He headed back into the old house, looking in the kitchen, where his parents had been a few minutes before, but they were not there.

And than he had heard the noises… strange noises… stifled cries… grunting… the sound of flesh slapping hard against flesh…

He had sneaked around the corner – and had witnessed what his father did to his mother.

His father played the same games with his mother that he did with him, only rougher… he was slapping her and boxing and tearing at her long hair.

He hated his father for that… but he was too small and meagerly to intervene.

He had been terrified and fascinated at the same time.

Watching his father doing those things to his mother… it felt strange and somehow wrong to see them, but not to be the one in charge. To see it – without feeling it. To watch what happened, without getting touched.

At that day something in him changed… he wasn't aware of that then ... but today… today he knew it had been this day when the first seed was sowed… the seed that would change him from an abuse victim into an abuser…







*********************

Michael’s eyes snapped open. A bright light glared at him and a torturous headache set in. Where was he? What had happened?

He raised his hand to wipe over his face and to shield his eyes, but with a rattling sound and a sharp pain in his wrists the hands stopped in mid-air.

He was handcuffed? But how… why… ?

And then the memories flushed back… Fox River. The escape. Sara. He and Linc on the run. Digging in the desert. Tweener. T-Bag… Oh my god – T-Bag!

With difficulties he managed to get into a sitting position, scanning the room in which he had opened his eyes.

It was a relatively big room, quite clean, but with worn down furniture. All the faded and thin curtains were closed, the light was turned on and hurt his sensitive eyes, he squinted and tried to adjust his sight whilst he was examining the area.

In front of him stood a TV, on his left a door was left open, allowing a glimpse in a little bathroom, and on his right stood a second bed – and there sat T-Bag!

Michael – surprised by this sight – gasped for breath.

There he sat, unmoving, his eyes fixed at him, but obviously not seeing him, lost in thoughts.

Michael gulped and slowly turned his head to glance at his handcuffs.

With a frown he realized that his upper body was naked and that his hoodie was dangling from his wrists – T-Bag must have shoved it above his head to… to do what?

A quick look down on his body filled him with relief… he had still his jeans and boots on.

So… what happened? And what to do now?

He tried tentatively to pull at his handcuffs, scrutinizing the bed frame to which he was shackled.

His LLI kicked in and he was aware that it was an old bed frame, the wood parched and brittle. It would not break without effort, but with a little time maybe he could loosen the hand-cuffs…

But… after a short side glance at T-Bag who still was staring vacantly, he remembered suddenly the sick kiss he had received a few hours earlier and the threatening promises T-Bag had made – and so he decided that it would be a good idea to be fully dressed before his pursuer was awake again.




*******************

Teddy shook himself out of reverie and back into the reality, filled with rage and hatred at his bastard of father.

His dark brown eyes surveyed Pretty, who sat now on the bed, looking shaky, but awake…

The younger man glanced around and tried ineffectively to pull his hoodie back on his body – but with both hands shackled at the bed frame and his shirt dangling in a mess from his handcuffed hands it was impossible.

With a smooth movement Teddy slid from his bed and covered the distance between them in the blink of an eye.

Michael, suddenly aware of a motion and the threatening closeness of T-Bag jerked his head around, his turquoise eyes widening in fear.

T-Bag was near enough to touch him, but he didn’t.

Michael froze, he felt T-Bags exhalation at his skin, causing goose-bumps all over and he stiffened in expectation of the touch that would now surely follow.

With a sigh T-Bag sat down beside him and said with quiet threat in his voice “So ya all awake again, Pretty? No longer playin’ dead like a dumb dog? All da brains of thou workin’ again?” and he looked Michael directly in the eyes, something dangerous smouldering deep in his eyes.

Michael only stared back, he tried to lay all of his strength into this glance, but he was too aware of his bad current status.

And then he felt the expected touch, T-Bags fingers had moved and brushed at his side, sliding over ribcage and stomach, coming to rest slightly above his left hip.

Michael gritted his teeth, but was neither willing to flinch away nor to break his staring-duell with T-Bag. The little tremor in his jaw gave away his tension, but otherwise he didn't move a muscle.

As T-Bag started to speak he was caught flat-footed,

“Who did this to ya – and why?”

His face fell and immediately he broke the eye contact with T-Bag, inhaling sharply.

It was almost funny and somehow he had to fight against the urge to laugh.

He was shackled to a bed, half naked and helpless, under the sway of an infamous rapist and murderer – and felt embarrassed by a question?

But he felt his cheeks burning in shame and if he could use his hands he would have done so to cover his nudity, to cover this shameful part of his past.

So he bit his lip, averted his eyes and fought hard against the laughter which would turn into sobs, that he knew for sure.

Michael heard an impatient sigh and suddenly felt T-Bags fingers on his throat, grabbing his chin in iron-like brackets and forcing him to face his punisher, to see the unholy fire in his dark eyes.

“No games now, Pretty. I wanna know and ya will tell me what I wanna know. If ya tell me I’ll maybe leave ya alone for this night… but ya will tell me, either way…” the menace in his voice loud and clear.

Michael stared paralysed in the eyes of the smaller man, not able to move or even look away. The soft skin of his throat and chin started burning in the brazen grip and breathing was almost impossible. He started to squirm as his lungs missed new air, but T-Bag didn’t release his deadly grip.

He pushed himself up and backwards with the help of his feet, and if he would had enough breath he would have winced about the pain that this movement inflicted in his handcuffed wrists, but his craving for air was bigger than the hurt in his hands.

But T-Bag still clung on his neck and squeezed without mercy his windpipe shut and quick growing sprinkles of crimson and black started to cloud Michael’s vision.

With cold interest T-Bag watched Michael’s struggle for life, inhaling deeply the sweet scent of panic and despair… as he recognized that the usual clearness of Michael’s eyes was fogging and his long adorable eyelashes started to flicker he suddenly let go.

He watched through half-closed lids as Pretty desperately started to drew air in big gulps, his tattooed body shaking with coughs and had to bite at his bottom lip to hold back the deep moan which was building into him. Having this power over another person and using it – well… that was inspiring and erotic.

He rolled his head on his shoulders, stretching his arms in the progress above his head to release some tension and with a clicking sound of his tongue he moved forward and closed again the little distance between him and Scofield, so that he almost touched him with his lips as he started to talk again.

Michael, who heard that strange clicking sound through his coughs shied away as much as possible and raised his pale face to once again look into T-Bags flaming eyes, taken aback from the shadowed expression on the other man’s face.

“Nooo more excuses, Pretty… ya see, I’m da ruler of our l'il games in here… I have asked ya a question, and ya will give me da answer – NOW!” and with that T-Bag slapped Michael square across the face, his head crushed back into the bed frame and he could feel blood filling his mouth where he had bitten himself, and once again red and black sparkles started to circle in his sight.





**********************

Several punches and slap’s later Michael’s head connected for the third time hard with the bed frame, an ugly cracking sound of wood resounded throughout the room – and this time his lights went out.

Teddy looked furious down on the lifeless form on the bloody sheets, panting hard, growling deep within his throat – that bitch hadn’t spoken one word to him!

He was so angry now, he was in killing mode and almost lost it totally… but killing that boy now would not answer his questions, and would not fulfil his plans of a slow and painful death for Pretty.

Frowning at his busted knuckles he realised how hard he must have hit him – to be true he really had been on the verge of slaying him, the image of his father had flared through his brain and he had “him” punched again and again…

Teddy grimaced and felt a jolt of regret. “Now Pretty, I told ya don’t mess with me… now it would take a time to earn da name Pretty again… but I can assure ya that ya don’t need da time… I won’t give ya da time to do so…” he mumbled.

So he decided to go out… hunting outside in a bar for a victim… releasing some of the pent-up tension… this way he would have some fun and later more patience in dealing with Scofield.

He again used the bathroom, refreshed and changed his blood-stained T-Shirt, than he went back to Pretty who let out a low groan and was moving slightly again.

Watching the boy closely he come to the conclusion that he had just stopped in time – he would survive – for now…

With an evil grin he jerked him upwards and gagged him roughly.

Then he dropped him back on the bed and controlled the still closed curtains.

Content with what he saw he left the bungalow, leaving behind the prone figure of Michael without looking back.





*********************

His whole world was tinted in black… black with crimson licking through…

He was swirling through this strange world, not knowing who, where or when he was or what he was doing here.

Everytime when he couldn’t avoid the collision with one of the crimson spots he doubled over in unbelievable pain…

All he knew was that he wanted the pounding to stop, if it would stop he would be able to remember something – anything – he was sure.

But the harder he tried to stop his movement the more it was spinning him around.

And now he could see a very big crimson spot, there was no way to draw aside, it grew only bigger and bigger and than it embraced him, it absorbed him and the pain crushed in waves down on him, fretting on him, drowning him…

Spitting him out into reality.

Left him alone with the agony violating his body.

Slowly he was aware of where and who he are… of what just have happened…

He was still alive but he had no idea why.

Michael’s vision was blurry, one eye seemed to be closed, and the other was clotted with a hot, burning liquid and he let out a soft groan.

Suddenly he felt hands on him, than he was jerked up and get gagged by T-Bag.

His tormentor released his grip and Michael slammed down on the bed again, hardly able to keep it together.

T-Bag left the room and shut the door.

The black fog came back again, but Michael struggled against, it was important to stay focused.

It was important for him to do something… but what?

For several minutes he just sat slumped back at the bed and forced every single breath into his raw lungs.

His whole body ached, his sight was heavily impaired and his head definitely had swollen ... but… this was his chance.

He didn’t know why T-Bag had left, but he needed to do something. Now…

Forcing his body to function he rattled again at his handcuffs, ignoring his sore muscles – and surprisingly his left hand immediately got loose, sending a shower of splinters around his head.

For a short moment he was dumbfounded, but then he turned his body with much effort and gritted teeth and grabbed with his left the chain around his right wrist, propped his feet against the damaged bed frame and yanked back with his whole weight.

The frame cracked so easily that Michael’s own strength sent him over the edge of the bed and heavily down to the floor.

It took him much too long to get the dizziness out of his head and to normalize his breathing, than he stood on his buckling legs, this movement again too much for his suffering body, panting heavily in and out with pain… each breath sent needles through his chest, and wearily he walked over to the bathroom.

A short glance in the mirror revealed what T-Bag had done to him… his face was a bloody mess, swollen and sore.

Softly and with trembling hands he washed it, aware that he would not have much time.

After cleaning up he dared a second look at his face.

Without the blood it looked still horrible, but he could see what damage had been done.

He had a bad gash above his left eye in about 3 - 4 inches long.

Blood from this gash had gotten into his eye and had blurred his vision.

He washed it out and could see almost as good as ever with his left eye.

The right side of his head was bruised and swollen, his eye closed with a thick black ring around.

Sliding his hand softly above the back of his head elicited a painful wince – he could feel one or two big buckles – no wonder that his head felt that big… with all of the swellings it WAS that big… he thought dryly.

His lip was split and his teeth felt a little loose.

At his throat the imprint of a white hand silhouetted against the fury red of his mauled, soft skin. And his throat felt inside narrow and raw, he had permanently to fight the urge of clearing his throat.

His chest was bruised and if there were not the tattoo he was sure it would show the bright colours of the rainbow.

His whole head hurt like hell, he felt dizzy and his sight was restricted, but it would be ok. It had to… there would be no other chance.

He had to leave now…

Michael grabbed his hoodie and winced as he pulled it over his head, his muscles screaming their protest.

Then he searched the room and found the key to the handcuffs lying on the desk, he used it with shaking hands and threw the bloodied metal on the bed – and then he saw the backpack with the money.

He grabbed a few fistful of dollars, rolled them into big bundles and shoved them deep in his pockets, then he tried to open the door and found it – like expected – shut.

Michael grimaced and turned to one of the windows, opened it and climbed through, nearly falling out of it, his body too weary to obey.

It was deep in the night, the chill of the desert made him immediately shiver. Michael had neither an idea where he was nor where to run.

But it was his only chance, and so he blocked his spinning and pounding head and his battered body out as good as possible and ran.
End Notes:
I would love to see what my readers think about it... ;)

Thanks for reading!
Chapter 9 - Anywhere else by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
So... *looks unsure around*

I hope after the last chapter I have some readers left... ;)
****************************
Anywhere else – Chapter 1
****************************

He felt so numb… he had not been able to sleep properly since all of this madness had begun. Each night since then would only hold endless hours of tossing and turning, of worrying and weeping - and of nightmares… Well – that was the best part of it – he no longer needed to be asleep to have nightmares. He only needed to remember what happened and he could relive real nightmares with open eyes.

He sighed, and turned slightly.

Was it possible to be too tired to sleep? To be so tired that you couldn’t afford enough energy to force yourself to close your eyes? To turn your inner turmoil down and get some of that god damn sleep your body and soul needed so urgently?

Well… that would be an interesting question in his biology classes, he thought…

And frowned.

There would be no more attending classes for him. No shit fucking boring school time to sit out, no freaking teachers giving him tedious homework, no cute girlies sitting beside him in class

No coming home, flinging his backpack in the corner of the hallway, no Mom making him a sandwich, no Mom telling him what to do and what not, no Mom hugging him… no Mom… no Adrian to fight against, no friends to hang out with…

His old life was gone… he was now an inmate, marked as a murderer.

As he thought of his alleged victims – his mother and stepfather – the tears started to stream again onto his handsome face.

God… he thought there could be no tears left… but every night they were back.

He clenched his fists and gritted his teeth… he tried so hard to will the burning liquid back into his eyes – but it was useless.

LJ grabbed the hard, flat piece of fabric - his lousy excuse of a cushion in his cell - and buried his head beneath… and sobbed… He cried for his dead mother, who only wanted to protect him, for his father and uncle, somewhere on the run.

And he cried for himself.

He was lost and alone in a prison in Arizona, amongst big and scary criminals.

Far away from the place he once had called home… The only people who would be interested in visiting him were his dad and uncle, but how could they?

They were still on the run, god may know where they were at the moment… and they could not risk walking into a high security prison to visit him, as much as his lonely heart wished it.

Back in Chicago, only a few days ago, they had tried to free him from the courthouse – but it had gone horribly wrong - that bloody FBI-agent had ruined it. And after that they had sent him into this freaking prison in Arizona.

Nick and Veronica, who had been such good lawyers, were dead or missing.

There was no one left who would be interested in visiting him.

Hell – who could he get to act as a lawyer for him and how the hell could he get the money?

He had to face the truth: he was screwed. He was lost in every meaning of the word.

No matter how he looked at it – every time he came up with the same results.

That was it for him. He was 16 years old, he had lost his family, friends and life. He was accused of the murder of two people and the attempted murder of another – and he would either rot in a cell forever or end up on Death Row like his father before.

Either way – his game was over.



**********************************

He awakened abruptly to the sharp sound of an alarm and the lock snapping open, releasing the cell door, immediately sliding noisily backwards.

Confused and disoriented he blinked in the harsh light of his cell and at the opened door in front.

Leroy, one of the CO’s - a big and bulky man - entered his cell, his left hand casually lying on his baton.

He smiled down at him and said friendly: “Come on, Peewee, move your skinny ass out of the cell – you have an appointment.”

LJ looked flabbergasted at him and shook his head.

“Ahm… sorry, I… uhm… I have no appointments… what’s up, Sir?”

Leroy’s friendly grey eyes mustered LJ in his yellow jumper, than he pointed with his thumb at the opened door into the corridor.

“Some dressy gents are here to visit you – now move, we haven’t got all day!”

Still not knowing what was going on LJ stood up, rubbed the sleep from his eyes, then reached his hands out to get cuffed.

A slight shiver rushed through his body as it always did when the cold metal rings locked around his wrists.

Leroy placed his big hand on the shoulder of the much smaller boy and escorted him gently through the corridors to the main wing of the prison.

Inwardly he shook his head at the polite youngster at his side and sighed.

He had seen many prisoners since he had started his work as a CO in 1985.

And that kid here seemed somewhat of out of place.

Nevertheless he had learned in all of these years that the greatest evil often wears the face of innocence. And Peewee here sat in the SU, in the Secure Unit of the prison even though he was not even 18. Despite his young age, they had sent him not to juvenile hall, but to a normal prison.

That meant that they were pretty sure that the kid had done for what he was blamed. He had murdered his own mother and stepfather…

But still, Leroy couldn't help but think this youngster seemed to be so unlike as the other cons in here…



**********************************

With a dry mouth and a funny feeling in his stomach LJ entered the small meeting room.

It was empty now and he sat down on the chair in front, Leroy fastened his cuffs at the ring which was embedded in the surface of the table.

After that he patted LJ shortly at the shoulder. “I’ll fetch you here in 30 minutes, Peewee… play nice, ok?”

Then he left the room, and LJ sat there wrapped in complete silence and nervous as hell.

As his stomach suddenly started to grumble he nearly jumped out of his skin.

With a deep moan he settled back in the chair and closed his blue-green eyes to compose himself. All the shit he was in made him a total wreck.

He rose his hands to rub his tired eyes – but with a light “Ching!” they were jerked back in about of the height of his ribs.

Fine… he frowned frustrated at the handcuffs. How could he forget that he was shackled to the table?

LJ moved uneasily in his chair. He felt totally exhausted, and he was hungry like a wolf – and to wait in here for those ominous people didn't help.

Finally the door opened and like Leroy said, two guys in immaculate suits and with sunglasses on entered the room.



**********************************

“Lincoln Burrows, Jr.?” spoke the emotionless voice of the left man.

LJ licked nervously at his dry lips and nodded.

He hated it when he had to speak to people who hid behind sunglasses… not to see their eyes whilst talking, only to hear their cold voices and to see the dark shields throwing back his own picture made him feel very uncomfortable and spacy.

Both sat down in front of him and the shorter one actually removed his sunglasses – but it was really no improvement to do so.

His eyes were dark and looked coldly at him and a scar cut through his left brow.

LJ felt his gaze catch on that scar, he felt unable to look at anything else – a strange feeling like he was watching a movie and not really being in all this crap took possession of him, and he fought hard against the bubbling up laughter.

Suddenly the other man smacked papers on the desk in front of LJ, which made him jump and hustled a pen forward to him.

“Sign that.” He grumbled.

LJ’s chin dropped at his chest,

“W-what? Wait a moment – sign what? What is this?”

The smaller one leant forward, and LJ flinched slightly backwards.

“Your release papers. You’re a free man from now on. All charges against you had been dropped.”



**********************************

Two hours later LJ stood totally railroaded beside a black limousine and accepted the handshake of the agents in front.

“If you want to we can find you a place to sleep!” the bigger one offered surprising in a friendly tone, but LJ still couldn’t see his eyes, and above all he had the feeling he could smell a rat…

Why had the charges been dropped? Since when had an ex-con got a ride with two federal agents in a limousine into the center of Yuma? Why was the big guy suddenly so friendly?

“No, ehrm - thank you, I’m fine!”

“Here son, your release papers and $ 100 for a start. And my card – you can call me every time!” The smaller one with the scar shoved an envelope into his hands.

LJ looked startled, but nodded plainly, took it and waved them goodbye.

He rounded as quickly as possible the corner, he wanted to get away from these sinister agents.

As soon as he could no longer sense their stares behind him he stopped in his tracks, closed his eyes, laid his head back and drew a big breath…

He was free…

How and why? It had happened so quickly and without warning… he could not help thinking that this was another set up.

But did it really matter? He was free, to do and to go wherever he wanted!

The first real smile since weeks enlightened his face and with fresh confidence he walked down the street towards the center of Yuma.

If he only had turned around he would have seen the agents strolling casually round the corner. The smaller one tipped shortly at his ear, then pointed to the other side of the street; the bigger one nodded and crossed the street to follow the kid on the other side.

Both of them were anxious not to lose sight of the boy in the typical meltdown of people flowing in the street of a big town at midday…



**********************************

It was hours later.

The first enthusiasm has gone and LJ realized he still was alone in the world.

He had tried to reach Vee several times but her cell phone just kept repeating that she was not available at the moment.

And he had no idea how to find or to contact his father and uncle.

He had visited the library and had searched through the archived newspapers of the last days. The flow of information had been very sparse in the prison, and he knew that libraries usually had an archive for newspapers.

So he had read all the articles of the ‘Fox River Eight’ since their flight on the 27th of May.

He was in total awe of his uncle – the feds didn't give much information away, but to read what was in the papers...... Uncle Mike was a real genius, that’s for sure!

He had skimmed through the papers, but there were no answers to his questions.

One of the fled cons had been found and killed – he shivered at the thought that it could have been his dad or his uncle.

But after that all he could find were articles full of speculations, and some strange sightings – but no facts.

With a frustrated sigh he stopped his search and rubbed his strained eyes.



**********************************

As he looked up he suddenly was aware of a young girl, about his age.

She was very small – ‘airy’ was the word which flashed through his mind. Her hair was long, straight and flew in silky, shimmering cascades down over the small of her back, its colour such a light blonde that he rather would call it silver.

Her face was simply perfect, with big, stunning grey eyes, porcelain white skin and sweet, rosy lips.

Altogether she looked as fragile and frail as he ever had imagined a fairy.

She stood in the entrance, wearing a light iceblue summer dress, and flat but very womanly shoes with ties accenting her slender ankles. A trendy scarf, as light and fresh as her dress caressed gently her elegant neck and her delicate fingers were wrapped around a book ‘History of America’.

With grace she moved to one of the bookshelves and laid the book back to his brothers and sisters, stroking softly with one finger over the binding - and then she glanced in his direction.

Their eyes met and LJ’s world was immediately reduced to only her and him, his heart beating unnaturally loud in his ears, his blood started to boil - literally. The girl blushed at his intense stare, smiled shyly and plucked a strand of her fascinating hair behind her ear.

White teeth flashed up shortly as she bit nervously at her bottom lip and her gaze dropped to the ground. Then she quickly turned around and walked towards the entrance.

LJ felt a flash of disappointment as their connection broke and as she turned to leave he rushed to his feet and followed her.

She moved through the library as if she knew the place like the back of her hand, for LJ running behind it looked like as if she were floating, so graceful and smooth were her movements.

Not so his – in his haste to follow her he seemed to stumble over any and everything.

In the meantime she arrived between several majestic looking columns and hesitated slightly.

A quick glance back over her shoulder and LJ – short of breath – could see her adorable rosy lips curl up into an enchanting smile.

Before he could avoid it he felt his hand rising and waving to her, grinning like a total dork. Inwardly he teared his hair out for his actions – but… he could not resist this girl…

Her smile grew wider and a sweet little dimple appeared at her cheek.

Then she turned again and vanished like a ghost between the columns.



**********************************

Only seconds later he arrived at the spot she just had been, a faint scent of coconut and vanilla filled his senses and then he could see a small wooden door behind, dangling loose in its hinges.

Without thinking he rushed through that door and with a big bang the door shut immediately close and he could hear a key turning in the keyhole – and then the distinctive sound of the lock being set in place.

Panic rushed in and he turned back to the door, only to see a stranger with the keys in his hands smiling at him.

With fear in the eyes LJ jerked around again and faced the girl. She stood only a few feet before him, her pale face with the big vivid eyes wearing an expression of regret, and her rosy lips mouthed soundless the word ‘sorry’ – then he could hear rattling on the door and fists beating against the wood.

But before he could call for help or turn back to the door he could see three more guys emerging from the shadows. “Stay calm, buddy, and nothing will happen to you.” The man behind him spoke.

They were all much bigger than him, and he knew when he was outnumbered.

So he raised his hands with the palms looking up at the ceiling in a non-aggressive gesture to signal them that he would not fight.

The girl shied further away and averted her eyes, but not before he noticed how sad she looked… then she turned and opened another door leading to the outside – LJ could see a black SUV standing out there, and yet another man entered the room.

He stopped aside the girl and laid his hand on her small shoulder, smiling gently down on her and she lifted her tiny face and the beauty of her open smile swept LJ from his feet.

“Take the boy, we leave now!” the grey haired man ordered, and LJ felt hands grabbing his arms and he had no other choice but to follow the strangers into the SUV, the banging on the door behind him dying away in the distance.

LJ hung his head and accepted his fate… captured – again.



**********************************

As they left the building he could see there were in fact two SUV’s with darkened windows parked in the little back road.

The men who held him by his arms led him quickly to the first of the SUV’s.

Overwhelmed with resignation and fear he entered the car unopposed, slumped heavily down and closed his eyes in defeat, one of the men sat down beside him.

What did his uncle and father always repeat? Have a little faith?

Well… all he had left was desperation, ocean’s full of it.

“Come on, we have to leave quickly before they come through the door or find enough brains to count two and two together and call for reinforcements!” he could hear another voice shouting outside.

LJ moved his hand up to wipe quickly over his eyes - and wondered why they hadn’t bound or cuffed him, maybe he could…

Then the sweet scent of coconut and vanilla filled the air, the girl must have entered the SUV.

LJ gritted his teeth – it was his own fault that they had captured him.

Beautiful eyes, long legs – and he had been like a horny dog without a brain, his nose on the trail of that girl.

He got so angry now… angry with himself – and angry with… with… with that CHICK who had done that to him.

He could feel her frail presence fill the SUV, the scent and the knowledge of her closeness made his stomach flip and his breath shallow.

The men outside shouted instructions, and one of them peeked his head inside.

“Briefing now, Kevin let’s go!”

“Hey, Selene – can you handle him alone?” the deep voice of the man at his side rung through the car.

As he heard her name a shiver ran through LJ, he opened his bluegreen eyes and looked at her – that name was perfect for her.

Then he realized - what has he said? ‘can you handle him alone’? LJ’s eyes went big, a smirk appeared in the corner of his mouth, and he raised in a mocking manner one eyebrow whilst his glance scanned her whole, delicate body. This petite chick?

He was not his father, that he knew too well, and he would never get his broad and masculine frame, but that girl was no match for him, that’s for sure!

Selene blushed again as she felt his appraising glare flicker above her, but she averted her grey eyes from him and nodded reassuringly to his escort.

“Ok, Bryan is driving, and we have a meeting in the other SUV, so I have to go. If you need something, beep me ok?”

She flashed another one of her radiant smiles at the man - again it took LJ’s breath away although she had not smiled for him - and without another word Kevin left the SUV, closed the door and banged two times on the roof.

The SUV immediately pulled out of its parking place and sped off quickly.



**********************************

The two teenagers sat in awkward silence in the SUV, watching each other closely.

LJ was in a total chaos of feelings.

He felt angry, helpless, uncomfortable, annoyed, attracted, unhappy, thrilled, embarrassed and confused – and breathless - all at the same time.

She sat in front of him, her small frame relaxed, her vivid eyes never leaving his face, a small knowing smile on her rosy, perfect mouth.

Looking at her mouth he licked nervously his lips. The silence was unnerving.

Then he couldn’t bear it any longer.

“What do you want from me – why am I here?” he blurted out, much louder than he had intended.

Selene winced slightly in surprise and one of her lean hands fluttered to her hair, brushing a silvery strand out of her eyes.

She opened her mouth, but before she could answer LJ closed aggressively the space between them and glared down at her, clearly aware of his physical advantage over her.

“Damn girl – answer me! What’s all this crap? Who are you and your friends, and why have you lured me in that trap? Tell me!!” his voice had got louder and louder, and he knew that he was screaming now.

He was so close to her that he could see golden and green sparkles in her stunning grey eyes, and the scent of coconut and vanilla emanating from her was overwhelming him, he could feel his heart missing a beat.

And then she did something he had never reckoned with – she smiled, lifted her small hand and touched with her index finger softly on his lips.

A jolt of pure desire shot through LJ and he felt his knees buckle beneath him.

Heavily he sat back and looked at her, totally baffled.

She smiled her sad smile and turned to her left side, reaching for a fancy little backpack he hadn’t seen before and rummaged in it.

He frowned – why the hell couldn’t she simply answer his questions?

Then it seemed she had found what she was looking for - with a brilliant smile in her face she turned back to him, twinkled at him and started to write.

LJ’s gaze wandered from her slender hand holding the pen up to her beautiful face, noticing the tip of her tongue peeking through her rosy lips whilst writing, and suddenly he understood.

His heart contracted painfully – that celestial beauty in front of him was… mute.

Selene could not speak.



**********************************

A few seconds later she shoved the pad in his direction and smiled encouragingly.

Suddenly he felt ashamed for his outburst of fury before. He sighed and took the pad, and started to read what she had written in her feminine handwriting for him.


Hi LJ,

My name is Selene, and I’m sorry about how we both have met.

You had been tailed and we had to ensure that we could pick you up without being recognized.

That’s why I have lured you in that back room.

I’m really sorry…


LJ’s eyes narrowed.

“Who’s ‘we’ – and who has tailed me and why?” he asked, ignoring the question which was close to his heart… why can’t she talk?

The pad returned to Selene, and again she wrote something on it, this time much longer.


I don’t know how much you know about all of that mess you’re in… your father and uncle have unintendedly stirred up a hornet’s nest.

I can’t say much now, it’s not on me to give you the details, but let me say this much:

Your father IS innocent. It was all a giant set up – from high profile members of our society.

With the averting of your father’s electrocution and their escape your uncle has thwarted the plans and has gotten sight of a political conspiracy.

Now they want them – and they want them dead.

You are a pawn in their game, LJ – they have released you and have pushed the release through the press. They hope that your father and uncle will try to find you – and when they do – they have them.


LJ looked stunned at the letters.

His father was innocent? All the years of Angst and desperation – for nothing? And his mother and stepfather? Nick? Veronica? Have they all died or suffered only to make him to a pawn in the game of some bored politicians?

His eyes filled with tears. Angry he wiped at them, but it was useless – they spilled over and searched their way down his cheeks.

Embarrassed he turned away from Selene and gazed out of the window, staring into nothingness.

But suddenly he felt her beside him and her cool fingers touched his hot cheeks like the wings of a butterfly.

A deep moan slipped from his lips and he faced her and all he could read in her eloquent grey eyes was sorrow, concern, appreciation and kindness.

That was too much…

He pulled her dainty body onto him, nestled his hot face in her silky hair and sobbed.

Selene’s eyes widened in shock and astonishment, her body stiffened for a second, but without thinking she relaxed immediately, her slender arms held him tight, her hands stroked softly at his back.

She had never thought that a tough looking guy like LJ could show so much feelings… Well – maybe she had lived too long among all those hard faced men and women of the organisation, she thought sadly.

His sobbing crept deep under her skin and she could feel a single tear running down her face.

How much she wished she could talk to him… soothe him… but so… she sighed soundless, and rocked him softly, inhaling deeply his scent, and felt somehow never so much alone in this cruel world as she had this very morning…
End Notes:
I hope you like it!
Thanks for all my readers, and thanks for the reviews so far!
I love them and I love to read what you all think about it... :)
Chapter 10 - An unequal Team by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
Now we jump back to Linc, Tweener & Co. ...

:)

Thanks to Zee for her help with the Spain! *hugs* :) .
*******************
An unequal Team
*******************

Linc was once again in his life flat on his back… how often can a man bear such intense feelings without breaking?

All of his life he had fought to be strong, to be able to defend himself and the ones he cared for, the ones he loved… It was enough… He felt bare and thin… He should be a protector – but… he bit his lip to stop the upcoming sobs.

He should be a protector first and foremost… and a good big brother, a loving father, a solid rock for his family… but he was none of them …

He was deadbeat in every respect.

The fierce voice of Sucré was spitting out endless words in spanish in the back of the car and he felt so tired, so depleted… his mind started to wander back in time… to think back to the first time of his life as he had to learn about the meaning of helplessness.


*************************
*** Flashback Lincoln ***

Lincoln had just been 5 years old and his mother was pregnant with Michael as his beloved father left the little family.

Aldo had come home from work much too early, shoving little Linc absentmindedly out of his way and grabbed his wife on her arm, leading her into the little kitchen and closing the door.

Linc had been disappointed somewhat… His father was at home, and he had promised to go with him to the baseball-stadium, William Prall would be there for exercise – and Prall was their favourite player.

He could hear mumbling voices behind the closed door and a frown creeped over his little face as he heard the voices rise and finally soft weeping from his mother.

“Mommy!” he had opened the door and ran into her arms, folding his little body carefully around her swollen belly, scared of her tears.

But Aldo had lifted him up in his strong arms, nuzzled his short dark hair and than he had said: “Hey, buddy, come here – I’ll tell you what…”

Linc’s eyes filled up with tears and his bottom lip started to shiver as his glance shot between his weeping mother and his desperate looking father to and fro.

Aldo sighed heavily. “Linc… I have to go… I don’t know when or if I will be back, but buddy, you are now the man in charge, your Mommy and the baby need you. Help Mommy where you can, and care for her and the baby, do you hear me? Be strong for them… I love you, Linc… I’m so sorry…” and with that he had given him a kiss on his forehead, had returned him to his mother who was drowned in tears.

He had lifted up her wet face with her stunning blue eyes and kissed her goodbye… one last tender touch at her swollen belly and then he had left the house in determined long steps, without looking back at him or his mother.



**********************

The next weeks were terrible… his mother cried her heart out, and little Lincoln was lost in his own mourning.

But he felt compelled to do what his father had told him to do.

He had to be strong now, for his mother, for the little baby, for himself.

And so it began… Linc started to build a wall against all that could pose a threat, he closed himself up like a fan and gave no feelings away.

He helped his mother with everything and after the birth of his little baby-brother, after the first look in the little red, crumpled face he knew for sure that he would do everything to protect his family.

And so he built up the image of the strong, two fisted buddy. On the one hand unshakeable and on the other hot-blooded and wayward.

He nourished that image of himself, it was his way to cope with things…

What can’t touch you, can’t hurt you… and when you didn’t allow others to touch your family, they would not get hurt in process.


*** End of Flashback Lincoln***
*******************************






He sighed, trying to focus on the dusty road again.

Still he could hear Sucré’s agitated babbling and sometimes there was a moan and a vile, wet-sounding cough from the kid, but he was too distracted right now.

There had been so much other occasions in his life, where he had again to face those helplessness…

Like when Vee and her father had moved in the house beside them… At first sight he had fallen for the delicate girl with the long, silky, black hair, the big grey eyes and the velvet voice… It had not taken long for him to identify the signs of beating and abuse.

And there was nothing what he could do for her, only taking her in his arms afterwards and soothing her whilst she cried, giving her icepacks for her bruising and trying to make her smile despite the hurt.

Or as Michael developed his LLI… witnessing his little brother scratching himself or smashing his tiny fists against a wall until blood flowed, only in effort to keep control.

Then the sudden sickness and death of their mother… Watching her die without being able to help, to recognize that all of his efforts in being strong and tough were useless, that he had failed, failed his father, failed his family and failed his own vow to protect them – that broke something in him.

That was the time when he started to rebel against all and everything - only to castigate himself for his failures – that was the beginning of the end.

With this behaviour he lost his little brother into the foster homes.

With this behaviour he laid the headstone of his – and Michaels – future… all that happened till this day, all they had to go through – it was all his fault…





************************************

To try to make it up to Mikey, he borrowed an enormous amount of money to provide for Michaels education and had camouflaged it as money from the “life-insurance” of their mother. Michael had done well with the money and Linc was satisfied that for once in his life one thing he had touched worked out well.

He had difficulties in paying the money back and struggled to keep it together, but it was ok… he was proud of his little brother and watched him and his advancement with pride.

Than again – Vee… she had come back for him after graduating college… She wanted to be with him, build a life with him - and he was the happiest man on earth. He knew with her help he would finally be able to drag his life out of the gutter.

But he had screwed up, they had a little silly fight about furniture for their place and he had stomped out, all bull-headed and angry… he got drunk - the alcohol and anger making him horny – and suddenly there was that nice blonde girl, – Lisa – well… one thing led to the other, they had alcohol fuelled hot sex on the bonnet of his car, nothing worldshaking – but… Lisa got pregnant.

And so Lisa became his family.

He blew it big time… Vee left for good, Michael was angry with him and stopped talking.

And he hated himself more than he could ever admit.




************************************

Lisa gave birth to a healthy boy. LJ. And Linc felt overwhelmed seeing that little bundle of life in his much too big hands… and felt panic that he would mess up another life, to spoil LJ’s life like he had done with Michael, like he had done with Vee, like he had done with Lisa and – to be true – like he had done with himself.

So he decided it was better for the boy if his loser of a father stayed away.

It broke his heart, but… it would be better for LJ if he made sure the cancer of his life could not spread on to the life of Lisa and his son.

But – again – it was a senseless attempt. The bitter taste on his tongue reminded him that he had copied the pattern of his father: instead of staying tall and fighting for his son and his life to get it back on track he turned around and failed them. Failed his son like his father failed him and Michael.

The cancer had spread. LJ had suffered not to have a father. To see his father go into prison with alarming regularity. And the final blow had been his alleged murder of Terence Steadman and his death-sentence.

Again he was out of it, no longer master of the situation – stranded in Death Row, his life forfeit.

As he had learned that his son LJ was wanted for the murder of his mother and foster father and that he had disappeared – there was no possibility for him to intervene, to go out and seek for his son, to make it somehow right.

He was caged like an animal in a cell, pacing it and going slowly insane.

They had denied him the right to call his son, to search for his son – he was a prisoner in Death Row and he had no rights.

He thought this gruesome feeling would be the top of his list of feeling useless and helpless.

But he had been terribly wrong – he has achieved a new height.



************************************

He had so much hoped that he would never experience those feelings again – and now he sat here in the car he and Michael had shared for the last few days, and… was more helpless than ever…

The fury started to race through his system and it took a moment for him to register that the strange sound which clawed at his thin nerves were his own teeth, gnashing in his anger.

That perverted swine T-Bag had kidnapped his little brother! God alone knew what he was doing at him in just that very moment!

And he had injured the kid badly … Throwing a glance into the back mirror he could see Sucré sitting there, the kid laying with his smashed and bloody face in his lap, fighting for every gulp of air.

Sucré held Linc’s cell phone to his ear and talked in quick spanish to someone on the other end, his voice showing a whole palette of emotions.

C-Note was driving the motorbike just a few hundred metres behind Linc.

They headed through the desert in direction of Tooele.

Suddenly Sucrè’s voice sounded extremely thankful and Linc managed to decipher “Muchas gracias, padre – gracias! Llegaremos a la iglesia en un cuarto de hora. Gracias!” (((Thank you very much, Padre – thank you! We will arrive at the church in about 15 minutes. Thank you!)))



************************************

They drove through Tooele and finally stopped in front of a little church.

Linc thanked Michael inwardly for the GPS-System, they had found the church without delay.

He took his baseball-cap and pulled it deep down onto his face.

Sucré let go of Tweener, who had become alarmingly quiet in the last few minutes and got out of the car, nodding shortly to C-Note.

“Hey, man – this will work? You’re sure?” C-Note asked him with an anxious expression in his dark face.

“It has to, Papi, it has to” Sucré answered nervously.

At this moment the doors of the church banged open and an elderly Hispanic looking man, suited in the habit of a priest emerged and hurried down the worn steps to them.




************************************

He looked at Sucré and asked him something in quick spanish, and Sucrè nodded and pointed at the back of the car.

The priest moved along to get to the backdoor and shot a short look at Lincoln, his eyes a kind brown, his tanned and friendly face full of concern, framed by short salt and pepper hair.

Than he looked down at Tweener and inhaled sharply, crossing himself mumbling some words to god and than crossing Tweener as well.

Linc bit back a sarcastic comment about that behaviour.

“Ok, please drive to the back doors of my house there, my friend will arrive any minute… I hope he can do something for your young friend, he looks very bad – but I’m sure with the help of god he will find his way…” spoke the priest in slight accented english.

Mumbling cuss-words under his breath Linc did what he was told; then he killed the engine and got out of the car, opened the backdoors and heaved grunting a slightly moaning, blood coughing Tweener out of the Ford.

He knew that something must had happened between Tweener and Michael back in Fox River because of the strange break up of the boy after their escape.

Michael had dismissed the kid, left him to his own devices, which was really strange. A few hours before he had insisted that Tweener was on board and then he had sent him coldly away.

But – to be true – he did not give a damn about that at the moment.

That kid reminded him of his son, much too young for all the shit that had come down on him and he felt determined to help him, maybe in some way as a substitute for his own son, LJ.





************************************

The priest rushed past him and opened the door, leading him into the little shabby looking but astonishing clean and comfortable house, strolling down the little hall to a small room with a bed in it.

“Lay him down here – carefully. Maria?” he called out, and suddenly a young mexican girl, with shy looking, black eyes appeared in the door, C-Note and Sucré in her trail.

“Maria, please head out and bring Manolo in here, he has to arrive any moment.”

The girl nodded and scurried wordless out of the little room, which was definitely overcrowded with all the large man in it.

Tweener suddenly moved, his eyes flew open and his gaze jumped around in panic. He tried to creep away from the foreign man in front of him but the exertion was too much and he coughed painfully again, which made more blood pearls bubble up and burst on his lips.

“Whoah, hey - kiddo, relax…” Linc hummed soothingly in his deep voice, laying his big hand reassuringly on the shoulder of the younger man.

“It’s all good, you’re here in the house of… a friend… A Doc will come and see after you… just relax… they are trying to help, you see?”

Tweeners fogged eyes trailed over Linc, and a wry smile bared blood-blurred teeth.

“Lay down, buddie… no, don’t talk… just lay down, ok?”

And Tweener relaxed a little, sinking down back on the small bed, but suddenly his hand shot up and gripped at Linc’s wrist.

He desperately tried to say something, but more coughs shook his lean body as Linc bent over and tried to understand the words despite the sickening sound of the coughs.

Tweener whispered something in his ear… Linc frowned in concentration, to get it right… then he patted slightly Tweener’s shoulder.

“It’s ok, kiddo… I will tell her that…”

The boy smiled wryly and closed his eyes, still holding Linc’s big hand in a deadly grip. A very sad expression slipped over Lincoln’s face, and softly he untightened Tweeners fingers from his wrist.

Then the young mexican girl rushed back in, at her side a very old looking, white haired man.

“Manolo Pechedo – these are… friends of mine… and that is Senor Pechedo, I’m sure he can help your friend.

Ah – Manolo, it seems like he has an injury of his lungs… If you need something, please ask Maria for it, you know she’s well versed in those things. I will be with my guests in my den, we have some issues to discuss”.

The white haired man only nodded absently, shooed them out of the room and just as he turned back to Tweener, Linc stopped in the tracks and said “uhm… he has maybe more injuries… As we found him… ah… he told us that…” Linc averted his eyes and felt very uncomfortable. He licked his lips and continued “from what he told us I have to assume that he has been… raped…”

His voice had gotten low and lower, the last word barely audible.

The dark eyes of the doctor saddened, and he said – heavily coloured with Mexican dialect - “I will check that… now leave, I have work to do” and with that he opened his big black bag, ordering Maria around in a friendly way.

Then the door was closed and Linc looked at it with consternation in his eyes.



************************************

As they followed the priest into his sanctum Sucré whispered to Linc, not able to control his curiosity any longer “Sink, what did Tweener tell you?”

Linc looked him shortly in the eyes, than he shrugged.

“He asked me to give a girl a message from him, but I’m not sure if I've got her name right, his voice was too low… her name is Debra Jean Belle and I have to tell her she’s the most beautiful girl in the world.”

He sighed.

Sucré smiled about that message and said: “Ay man, that’s good, he has someone out there who he loves – why do you look so sad about it?”

Linc stopped at the door and turned to Sucré, eying the smaller man astonished and couldn’t help – he started to shout angry at him.

“What I… Sucré! Who in hell is that girl, that Debra Jean Belle? And where is she? How can I find her? How can I pass his message to her?”

Sucré’s smile died on his lips and he looked crestfallen. “Oh…” was his only reply.

Linc sighed and entered the room, following the priest, who had turned and watched their dispute with interest.

He shook his head… only an hour before Sucré had been the one with the brains… Whilst he and C-Note stood helplessly around and were totally aghast about what to do with the wounded kid Sucré had asked Linc for his cell phone.

“Hey – you can’t just call the ambulance – they will get us!” C-Note blared at him.

Sucré had smiled back, wiggled with one eyebrow and had said “Ey, Papi – have faith!”

Than he had called information and asked for the number of the next mexican church in the area of Tooele.

The next church was Angel’s Grove, in the East End of Tooele almost out in the desert.

Quickly he had described his plan and whilst both still stood dumbfounded and stared at him he hurried them along. He had C-Note convinced to drive the motorbike because he needed his hands free to make the phone calls and to persuade the priest…




************************************

It was a simple plan: Sucré had the idea that it would be like the Mexican Churches he knew from home in Chicago and from his visits in Mexico to his aunts.

The Mexicans were all together one big family and they would stick together - It was Hispanic against American.

Though… most of the churches helped illegal immigrants… and it was a sad fact most of the people who needed the help of the churches were in bad physical condition. And that’s why most of the Mexicans Churches and Priests had connections to doctors with… well… the ambitions to help everyone, everywhere and without questions… and if the money was right there was no problem at all.

So Sucré had put all his eggs in one basket and had simply called the church, and talked to the priest, describing their… difficult situation rather amply and had asked for medical help for an injured friend and had offered money.

Well… that was it.

They had been led the way to the church, and the priest now wanted to discuss terms with them and Tweener would hopefully get help from the doc.

And this very same man, who had just shown so much wits had just been… like his normal self from Fox River… warm, charming, nice and a little bit hilarious without being aware of it…

A little smile started to play in the corner of Lincoln’s mouth, but as quick as it had appeared it diminished again as his look fell on the priest.

“Please sit down!” the padre suggested, waving with his hands to some chairs in front of his old, wooden and with staples of papers overloaded desk.

The three man glanced uneasily at each other and Linc shrugged his shoulders and sat down, followed by C-Note and Sucré.

“We haven’t had the time before, but now it’s time to exchange some pleasantries. I’m Padre Emilio Vasquez. And to shorten things: I’m fully aware of who you were…”

And with a slight smile he looked them calmly directly in the eyes.





************************************

The three men in front didn't dare breathe… Sucré’s eyes flickered back to Linc, but Linc nodded slowly and licked his suddenly dry lips.

“And… what will you do now with your knowledge, Padre?” he asked, knowingly emptying his voice of all feelings.

The priest fell silent for a few minutes, laid the tips of his fingers against each other and tipped with the united index fingers against his mouth, while his eyes still seemed to search for something within the three men in front.

“Well… firstly I can’t sense in one of you what the media is trying to sell… that you all are dangerous and eating toddlers for breakfast… all what I see is the concern for a wounded friend, and…” he hesitated slightly, than continued “and more…”
His glance wandered from Linc to Sucré and from Sucré to C-Note.

Again he took a deep breath.

“All of you came to ask for help, knowing full well that I would have all the right to turn you in. God knows we could really need that money which is offered for the three – no, for the four – of you.

But you came to the house of god in times of need.

Your friend has suffered a bad wounding and it lies in the hands of god only to judge if he will live or die.

You came without hesitation, not fearing what it would mean for you… so… we will help you.

All for what I ask is what that young man has promised on the phone” he pointed with his interwoven fingers at Sucré.

Linc and C-Note turned both their heads in his direction, and Linc furrowed one brow askingly.

“What did you promise, Sucré?”

Obviously very nervous now Sucré started to squirm uneasily on his chair.

“Aaaah – well… Papi… I promised that we will donate the church a greater sum, so that Padre Vasquez and the doc can go ahead with that special sort of business… you know? And… they will need additional money to procure a new passport and ID for Tweener…” his voice got low and lower and trailed slowly away and Sucré seemed to shrink into his chair.

C-Note’s eyes started to twinkle lightly and Linc’s mouth wrinkled into a smirk.

Sucré, still waiting for the reprimand which never came eyed carefully from left to right, visibly relieved that both of them took it coolly.

Padre Emilio, who had watched that wordless interchange couldn’t help and smiled widely.

“Fine – so everything is clear so far? I can offer you all shelter for tonight, some convenience of civilisation and of course something to eat… Maria is a good cook, and if Manolo can fix your young friend she surely will do some magic in the kitchen.

All what we have to clear now is the amount which you want to – ehm… ‘donate’ to our church and little organisation… “ he blinked at them.




************************************

A pondering silence fell over the threesome.

Padre Emilio stood up, and smiled “Well, I will go and take a look at your friend, feel free to discuss…” and left the room.

Linc exhaled audibly and scratched with his big hand over his shorn head.

Than he turned to Sucré and so did C-Note.

Sucré gulped and smiled nervously at his fellows, outstretching his hands in an appeasing gesture and started to stumble “Ah… well – guy’s… Uhm… I… I mean… there was no time and…” his voice trailed off as Lincoln rose to his feet and towered menacingly over Sucré and C-Note on the other side did the same.

Sucrè’s eyes grew big and now he started to talk very quick and careered between English and spanish, not noticing the big grins on the faces of the other men.

“Shut up, man – or are you a chickita? At least you sound like a chick” grumbled Linc and patted Sucré’s shoulder.

“Well done, Burito… I’m impressed to find some sense in your polished head” smiled C-Note.

A sigh of relief escaped Sucré’s lips. “So you’re not mad at me? Gracia de dios!” His features lightened up and he smiled happily.

“Ok – but now – what should we give to the priest?” Linc asked sternly.

Sucré licked his lips, and shrugged his shoulders. “Well – I think it should be in about $ 150,000 dollars – it’s enough to cover for their help and it should include what they need to buy papers for him…”.

Linc frowned, and looked to C-Note.

All the man thought for one moment the same. The kid was not their concern. Why should they pay for him?

On the other side they all were concerned… Each one of them had done what was necessary to keep that kid alive and to help him so far, despite of the possible bad outcome for themselves.

Linc took a deep breath, and rubbed his neck.

“So… it’s ok for me… what do you say – let’s pool the money for him?” and put forth his hand in the middle.

Without hesitation Sucré and C-Note shaked on it.




************************************

They had spoken again with Padre Emilio and he was highly pleased with the offered sum.

He had some news from the doc, Tweener was a little better now, he had released the pressure of the broken limbs and supported his breathing and he was sedated and out of pain – but he was not able to stop the internal bleeding. Another doctor would arrive soon and they had to operate on the kid.

Linc sighed. That doesn’t sound too good…

Padre Emilio led the three men to a spare room. It was not big, had no window, but it had some small, clean cots and a TV. A second door led to a small bathroom with a rudimentary shower, but it was enough for them.

“It’s not big, but I hope you can find some rest for the night… It will take time before it gives dinner, Maria is still helping the doctor, and Sonia – the other doctor – will arrive any moment. She’s a very good surgeon and I’m sure they will be able to help your friend.”

Lincoln’s eyes fell on the TV in the corner, and the padre nodded. “Feel free to use… If you’re looking for the News Channel you will find it on button 17.

Oh… and before I forget it… I have overheard your little conversation before, about that girl your are looking for.

I know that in Grantsville – that’s only in about 25 miles from here – lives an army officer named Belle, and his daughter is called Debra Jean… So… It might be a coincidence, but forgive me if I believe in god and think it’s his helping hand that shows us the way.

If you like I can try to contact her tomorrow…”.

Lincoln looked surprised at the older man and nodded – that was really amazing!

“Thanks, Padre… for everything. I will go and fetch our luggage. You both can start with the shower, I will watch TV first…” he stated and nodded to C-Note and Sucré.

Then he went out to the car and searched through the backpacks. He took all bags containing the money inside, and some with spare clothes so that he could give some of them to his friends.




************************************

Searching through the bags and through Michael’s things brought him to the verge of tears.

Michael. Where was he? Where was his little brother? And what had that swine T-Bag done to him?

He leant his forehead against the searing hot metal of the roof and closed his eyes, welcoming the pain.

Pictures of Michael flashed through his mind… and than somehow he saw Veronica too… and LJ… all his loved ones… all lost or in danger… and that hated helplessness filled him again.

With a deep, heartfelt sigh he returned to the house and their room. Sucré was asleep on one of the cot’s and from the splashing sounds from the bathroom he could tell that C-Note was freshening up.

He sat on another cot, leant back at the wall and turned the TV on.




************************************

He flipped shortly through the channels, before stopping at Channel 17 and tried to catch up with the latest news.

It doesn’t take long before a Bulletin about the “Fox River Eight” –as they were called now – flickered over the old TV.

There were no new information, the last big news had been the death of that lunatic with the bulging eyes.

And then – Linc’s lips curled up into a light smile – there were so many sightings of them all over in America, it was almost funny… he never knew that he had been in New York in the last few days…

His smile vanished immediately as the news anchor stated,

“There are only few news about the Fox River Eight, and the FBI office is keeping quiet about it’s progress. But we have news in the case of LJ Burrows, the son of the escaped convict Lincoln Burrows.”

Now a picture of LJ, wearing a yellow jumper and a mocking expression on his face, was shown.

Linc immediately sat straight up and leaned forward to the screen.

“Young Burrows has been indicted the double murder on his mother and stepfather and the attempted murder on a salesman in Chicago.

But it appears there is new evidence and all charges against LJ Burrows have been dropped.

He was set free this morning in Yuma, Arizona, where he had spent the last days in custody.

Thanks for this informations to our free reporter William Prall of Headline Press, Chicago – he has tried to talk to LJ Burrows, but was denied this by the FBI.

With that I give the word to Pete, he has the newest weather forecast for you…”


Linc sat there, his mouth literally hanging open at that news… LJ was free? They had released him? This morning? And in Arizona? But… wait… that reporter… William Prall from Headline Press?

Flashes of panic bolted through him… suddenly he felt himself restrained, shackled to the chair, panting heavily, the feeling of icecold water dripping down his shoven head, wetting the collar and back of his shirt… he could smell the fear - the odour so palpable that the fear itself become personalized in his frantic thoughts. It was like the fear would sit beside him in that chair… He could see the fraught faces of his beloved, Veronica weeping openly, Michaels face a mask of horror, his turquoise eyes blunt and drowning in tears, but not breaking his eye-contact with his doomed brother. Then he was no longer able to focus on their precious faces, he could not bear to see the agony in them, and his gaze wandered to a foreign face, foreign and yet so familiar… the face of his father, his own eyes looking back at him from an now older man with a baseball cap, expression tensed, and pain and sorrow emanating through the glass of the window…

Lincoln gulped, drew air in big gasps into his lungs in a desperate attempt to release his cramped chest and rubbed both hands over his tired face.

For several minutes he sat on that cot, breathing controlled and staring into nothingness.

Pope, the warden, had told him that the only other male person in that auditorium had been a reporter from the Headline Press, and his name had been William Prall.

Like the favourite Baseball player of him and his father back in 1975.

Than he searched his pockets for his cell phone, and started to dial a number…
End Notes:
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They help me to write, and I love to know what you think about it! :)
Thanks so much for reading... ;)
Chapter 11 - On track by Shadowflame
**********
On track
**********

How long he had sat on his bed and stared into space he was not sure.

His brain had played every scene, every second with Nikki again and again… and had started to add other memories. Deep buried memories of things he had done – had been ordered to do – to other women, who had become targets… and suddenly the women in those dark and hated memories all had her face…

With a shaking hand he rubbed his face, trailed it along his head and scratched his neck.

Shook his head to push those thoughts away.

But they seemed to be burnt onto the inside of his eyelids… he only needed to close his eyes and could see them again and again.

Paul buried his face in his hands. Jumped to his feet, paced the room and sat down again.

But nothing helped…

He couldn’t change the facts.

His order was to get hold of Sara Tancredi, to get information about how much she knew and to dispose of her.

And those orders automatically included getting rid of any additional threats to President Reynolds, to the government and – of course – to the Company.

If Nikki really was with Sara – and he had no doubt about that – how could he carry out his orders?

Would it be possible to grab Sara without getting caught red-handed by Nikki?

And would he be able to act with Nikki like he had no clue about Sara? Would he be able to keep up with that forever?

He had to… if he wanted to protect Nikki against the actions of the Company he had to find a way to separate her from Tancredi, to make sure that she couldn't witness what he had to do to Sara so that she could never suspect him to be involved with what would happen to her friend…

If he wanted Nikki alive, if he wanted a future with her – he must push it through. He must find a way to protect her…

With this decision he finally rose at his feet and started to load his car with everything he might need.





***********************

Several phone calls later he was on his way to the airport.

He would take a charter flight to Jefferson City – it would shorten the journey time and he could get some rest.

In the meantime his computer would proceed with the search – if any of the women used one of their cards or names – he would get that information immediately.

He was on their trail, and there would be no escape.

At least not for Sara.

The Company only wanted her, so the Company would get her.

It was the only way to save Nikki from suffering a similar fate.

Like a mantra he repeated it to himself, that he had to separate them, that he had to retrieve the needed information… he had to do it without hesitation.

Only then could Nikki be safe.





***********************

It was in the early hours of June 3rd as Paul’s little charter flight approached the airport in Jefferson City, Missouri.

He had not been long enough in the air to feel really rested, but he had a short sleep – and it had been blessedly one without dreams.

Not that he didn’t like the dreams he had last night about Nikki. Only thinking about them set his whole body alight with flames of desire… but… Paul sighed.

He had a task to fulfil he didn’t want to do.

Massaging his temples slightly with his thumbs to ease the dawning headache he tried to analyze what was wrong with him – to be honest what was wrong with him since he had met Nikki.

Coming from a subverted family and suffering from an abusive childhood Paul had managed to escape his bad social background and had attended West Point from where he had graduated with honours.

Joining the U.S. Rangers, he had served in the Gulf War, but then he had chosen a career as a secret service agent. He had been working for the government and especially for Caroline Reynolds for many years.

To survive his childhood and the horrors of the war, he had learned to suppress his humanity and he had found that this ability was very helpful for his career. So he had trained it further.

Paul was a patriot – he would do everything for his country. And he admired Caroline wholeheartedly.

He grew into his role as her bodyguard and right hand man.

He had done some dirty things to make sure that Caroline's career progressed and he had done them without hesitation. It had been a fight for the right cause, he had been sure about that. Without that knowledge, he would… Paul gritted his teeth.

It HAD been for the right cause. It must have…

He sighed and his thumbs stopped their circling motion on his temples and his hands covered his face. Suddenly he had difficulties in breathing and could feel hot liquid burn into his eyes.

Since he had found out Caroline was working alongside the Company… since then he knew he had been deceiving himself.

And since Caroline had taken office as President of the United States – well… since this day he no longer worked for her, he worked for the Company. ‘Officially’ he added with a hint of irony.

If that was not proof enough he was on the wrong side – he didn’t know what other evidence there could be.

His hands rubbed over his face and he could feel the first brush of stubble covering his chin.

A tired smile crouched over his features… Caroline would have laid into him for that… he just wondered what Nikki would think about him having stubble… somehow he was sure she would like him that way.

Paul drew a deep breath.

Nikki somehow had changed everything.

The last weeks – no, month – he had lived in a kind of bubble, lying to himself about his motives in order to go on… even after Caroline neglected him he was still fully her loyal ally. Because if he had changed his opinion, if he had allowed himself to think about it, he would have to face the facts that he had done terrible things, not for his fatherland, but for the Company. And he couldn’t cope with that. He could not live with the guilt which would result of that conclusion.

And here he was… thinking the unthinkable.

Whenever he had thought he would eliminate a thread for his homeland – he had in fact been nothing than a hired contract killer in the name of the Government, in the name of the Company – in the name of Caroline.

He had become what he hated the most. He was a kind of mercenary…





***********************

The little Cessna he was in was now sinking rapidly, making its descent to the landing strip.

He hated those little planes… in the air they were not too bad… but starting and landing always felt like riding a stone leaping in little gaps over the hard surface of a sea, thrown from an unskilled child…

And the landing? He could feel his teeth snapping hard and his spine thanked him with a sharp pain as the little plane finally landed and came to a halt.

Relieved Paul opened his seat belt and grabbed his laptop.

The pilot joined him shortly and said “Ok, like discussed I go for coffee… you will have the information you need when I come back?”

“Yeah, hopefully. Can you bring me some coffee, too?”

The pilot nodded shortly and left the plane.

Paul immediately started his laptop and searched for the newest results of his query.

And was successful…

He frowned - they had been in Oklahoma City, Nikki had paid for fuel with her card.

Hm… from Illinois to Missouri to Oklahoma City… they were on their way to the Mexican border, that was sure…

Ok, he needed to check the gas station. He tapped quickly at his keyboard and searched through some sites… ah – there it was.

Paul grabbed his cell phone and dialled a number.





***********************

Several minutes later he closed the phone, a satisfied smirk in his face.

He had talked with Samuel Bukovsky, the owner of the gas station. It was a modern facility, with surveillance cameras everywhere.

And – thanks to the century of high-tech – there was a computer in the office which had connection to the internet and Email.

He had sent an email with pictures of Sara and Nikki to Mr. Bukovsky and had referred to him the date and time of the payment.

Bukovsky could immediately remember that couple of beautiful ladies, one of them – the smaller one – had been very kind and had a “very british dialect” and she had paid the fuel with her card.

The slender redhead had flicked through the newspapers and had bought a magazine, some sandwiches, chewing gum and a guide for motels and hotels in the USA.

She had paid cash.

Paul than had acted up a little as a Secret Agent and had easily got what he wanted: access to the computer of the gas station.

It was connected to the surveillance system and once inside and equipped with the password of Mr. Bukovsky he found before long for what he was looking for:

A new video of Nikki (and Sara) for his collection… better than that: now he had the car model and the licence plate of the car.

He relished a few minutes at the sight of Nikki. She looked so beautiful… relaxed and making fun with Sara. And Sara – somehow she looked different. Still very thin and tired, but at the same time she seemed more alive than he could remember her. She laughed at something Nikki said and hugged her shortly and Paul could see how deep the bond of friendshiep was between them.

Taking a deep breath he stopped the video. It would get more difficult than he had thought.

But he could not allow to let his feelings take over his duty. He just couldn't.

Shaking his head over himself he filled the new dates into his computer and started an extended query.

To simplify things he set up a little ‘wanted poster’ for the two of them, with the request only to inform him when they were sighted somewhere.

As the pilot re-entered the Cessna with two steaming disposable coffee mugs in his hands he got the ball rolling… his little ‘wanted poster’ was sent to all police stations from Oklahoma City to Mexico, from Texas to New Mexico, with the order to spread it all over the counties at the gas stations, diners and motels…

“Thanks” with a smug smile he accepted the coffee and inhaled the delicious smell of the hot java.

Then he instructed his pilot which airport would be their next goal…




***********************

The pilot had just informed him that they would reach Oklahoma City in about 30 minutes as his cell phone rung.

“Kellerman!” his voice sounded cold and businesslike.

“Paul, Mahone here. Mr. Kim told me I had to inform you when I had deciphered that Origami-code.”

Paul’s face lit up for a second and changed immediately into a light frown… suddenly he had a bad feeling about this. “Yeah – and?”

“Well – we know that the first numbers you had sent to the HQ could be translated into one word: RENDEZVOUS.

Using the same technique with the other combination we found in the second bird we get amongst others the following combination: elgilanm65.

And that’s it. I have figured out that Scofield tries to meet his doctor at June the 5th in Gila, New Mexico.

Mr. Kim is very content about that progress and he has given me full access to the case now. I have just arrived at the airport in Chicago, I’m on my way to NM.

I have to inform you that you’re no longer in charge.”


Mahone’s monologue was interrupted from a sharp intake of breath as the casual spoken words hit Paul’s brain.

With a smooth and now slightly nasty sounding voice he continued like he had never been disturbed,

“To make it clear: Mr. Kim wants you to meet him back in Chicago asap, I should tell you that he’s very disappointed in you and that he sends me out to clean up your mess.

Oh – and Paul – if I were you I would hurry up… Kimmie sounded very pissed…”






***********************

Paul’s chin dropped to his chest. His mind raced and reminded him coldly what Mahone’s words meant.

He no longer ran the show, the jig was up.

Kimmie had called him off and Mahone would do what was necessary without remorse: he would get rid of the possible threat called Nikki and than he would force Sara to tell him what he wanted to know and would kill her after that.

It was all over.

They would die and there was nothing he could do, he would lose Nikki, he would lose the love of his life before he could even tell her about his feelings.

The darkness within swept over him and numbed his screaming heart.

He would lose her and there was nothing what he could do about it…

Without another word he cut off the call and smashed the cell phone on the floor.





***********************

His world fell apart… he felt drowned in silence, only interrupted by a strange, drumming sound, overwhelming and threatening, piercing what little rest of sanity remained …

He felt strange, somehow all felt so far away like it couldn’t bother him… like he was watching deadhearted what was happening to a person he didn’t know… and at the same time he could see every detail so clear like never before. The drumming noise constantly increased, filling every cell of him, making him flinch and covering his ears with his hands, doubling over in pain until he thought he couldn’t bear it any longer.

And then… nothing… all went black and cold and silent…

…suddenly he was aware that he still sat in the little plane, embracing his knees and panting heavily…

The drumming noise had ebbed and he felt somehow exhausted, hollow and weak.

With shaking hands he rubbed his stubble. Paul was not sure what had just happened… but… he sat there and waited to feel something again, to feel anything again. To break through that strange marble state, to feel again, to feel… what?

Desperation? Loneliness? Anger? Loss? Panic? Love?

He took a deep and trembling breath, not able to focus his unsteady gaze on anything long enough… He needed to calm down, he needed to think… He needed a plan…

And then suddenly he knew what he needed to do…
End Notes:
Tell me pleeeeaaaaasssseeee what you think... :)
Chapter 12 - Hopes and dreams by Shadowflame
*****************
Hopes and dreams
*****************

Like planned they had paused in Tucumcari.

It had been a strange feeling to get a motel room only for showering and changing clothes, but they were determined to make a beeline for Albuquerque; from there they would decide where to go next… Nikki was not sure why she had chosen Albuquerque as their goal, but somehow she felt drawn in that direction. She was sure when they arrived at the town they would find a hint of what to do next.

With freshly washed hair and fresh clothes they felt much better, but their grumbling belly’s told them what they needed before they could continue their long journey.

They put the key on the bed in the room and left silently without checking out.

A few miles down the street they found a gas station with a big shop and stopped to refuel the car and to buy some food.

Sara felt so tired now she thought she could sleep on her feet, but she wanted some chewing gum and sandwiches and a newspaper would be good, too…

So she lifted her tired body from the passenger seat and followed Nikki into the store.




***********************************

Nikki paid for the fuel and Sara strolled through the shop, searching for the things she wanted.

The newspapers still printed the mug-shots and stories over the Fox River 8.

She skimmed quickly through some papers - apparently Lincoln had been sighted in New York this morning, “in the company of an alley cat”, a very blurred picture of a big, bulky man with short hair and a very light vested blonde was shown beneath.

Sara arched one eyebrow whilst reading – she hardly could believe that – the man in the picture looked nothing like Linc.

A big headline on a thick magazine caught her attention ‘Michael Scofield – the evil mastermind?’

Intrigued she took it and turned the pages and she was rewarded with the sight of some pictures of Michael she hadn't seen before. Some must be from the yearbooks at school (he looked a little like a geek, but sooo sweet), and some were from other events – but one of it caught her eyes in an instant.

Seemingly it was taken for an official reason, Sara’s breath shallowed at the marvellous sight of Michael wearing a tuxedo and smiling serenely and confidently into the camera, eyes twinkling in a mischievous mood.

Damn… he looked good in that one… Sara could feel her stomach flip and her heart beat faster – the turquoise of his eyes sparkled at her.

It was strange to see a photo from him which had no reminder of the convict Michael Scofield she had known back in Fox River. Her eyes drank in the sight of him, he looked so easy and content, urbane and – well – respectable… no hint of having thoughts of robbing a bank, to go to prison on purpose, to break another con out of jail…

Still panting slightly she managed with an effort to loosen her gaze from his stunning eyes and run it over the page.

Obviously the newspaper was researching Michael’s background – that could be interesting. Of course it would be dubious to what extent she could believe in what the newspaper was writing, but… Sara smirked and blushed slightly – somehow she felt like a teenager buying a magazine with pics and gossip of her crush, the infamous and tattooed mastermind of criminals - Michael Scofield.

Without hesitation but now really red-faced she bit her lower lip and added the magazine quickly to the pile of goods in front of the elderly man on the cash point as her eyes get sight of a little book “Hotels and Motels all over in America – a guide through the USA”.

Spontaneously she took it and laid it on the top of her shopping, she thought it could be useful.

A few minutes later they left the store.



***********************************

As Sara suddenly stood stock-still Nikki bumped into her friend.

“What…” but Nikki saw immediately why Sara had stopped – her eyes were fixed on a big placard attached on the backside of one of the petrol pumps.

It was a wanted poster, showing the mug shots of the Fox River 8, and Sara’s eyes were glued at the little picture of a very young and vulnerable looking Michael Scofield, feeling mesmerized from his eyes even when they were printed in black and white.

“Come on Sar, move your bony ass and stop staring at America’s most wanted hottie!” Nikki teased her and Sara snapped out of her daydream and laughed out loud.

She turned and hugged Nikki warmly.

“Thanks for making me laugh, Nikki!” she whispered in her ear.

“Everytime, Hun, you’re so welcome…” Nikki answered smiling and held Sara tight.

Seconds later they separated and re-entered their car.



***********************************

Somehow Sara was now too tired to sleep.

They had eaten the sandwiches and Sara gulped down the last remnants of the rather dry bread with some water.

“What will we do next, Nikki? I mean, when we arrive in Albuquerque? I need to find out where Michael is…” she asked her friend.

Nikki shrugged slightly “I really dunno, babes… We need to cross the border to Mexico, I know we could have done it earlier, but somehow I feel that we need to do it from New Mexico… don’t ask me why, I really don’t get it… but… call it intuition… When we get to Albuquerque, we'll figure it out.”

That sounded really strange and Sara tried not to show the big grin which broke it’s way through her lips.

It was so typical for Nikki to make a gut decision. She always had been spontaneous whereas Sara would try to work out all the details first.

“Don’t laugh at me – I know exactly what you are doing behind that curtain of red locks, Tancredi!” Nikki taunted.

“You know me too well, Nikki” Sara giggled, tucking her hair behind her ear.

Then she fished the little guide out of her bag with a sigh and one of her Origami cranes took advantage of that and slid out of her bag too.

Sara bent down, caught the little maverick and caressed it softly in her slender hands, her eyes magically drawn to Michael’s picture in the magazine.

What did he want to tell her with the birds? Where should she meet him?

She re-read her notes and let her thoughts drift but she was none the wiser.

She opened the guide and ran over its pages, searching for the recommended hotels and motels of New Mexico, maybe she could find a good one for them to stay for the night.

Suddenly she gasped and shot up straight in her seat, staring wide eyed at the little book in her lap, not aware of Nikki’s bewildered look.

Now she knew where she would meet Michael! Now she knew what the message on the second bird meant!

Sundownhot… that was no plea from Michael to meet her on a romantic place to watch the sun go down – Michael must have meant a Sundown Hotel!

Frantically she searched through that little book and found out that actually there were only three Sundown Hotels all over in America – one in Pierre, South Dakota, another in Sutton, West Virginia – and one in Gila, New Mexico.

And that was it – that was her meeting point – at the Sundown Hotel in Gila, New Mexico… for sure Michael and Lincoln would be on their way to the Mexican border as well…

“Nikki – I know where we need to go… I have deciphered Michael’s last message..” she told her friend with a beaming face.

“We need to go to Gila, New Mexico – to the Sundown Hotel!”



***********************************

Nikki smiled at her happy friend “Ehrm… Sar? Could you please do me a favour and tell me the whole thing and not just your conclusion? You always confuse me doing that…”

Radiating with happiness Sara declared how she found out where they should meet Michael.

Nikki nodded – it made sense.

She chuckled “and I thought he was a romantic soul, sending you secret messages in paper birds… but I think you are right! Now we know where to go…

Let’s see… we are in about 2 hours away from Albuquerque… can you feed the new data into the GPS? I have no idea where ‘Gila’ is…”

A few minutes later they had their new route… they would still drive through Albuquerque, but they wouldn’t stop there – they would only refuel and then head straight on to Gila, it would take them another drive of in about 6 hours.

With luck they would arrive in about 7 or 8 p.m. in Gila.

And then they would take a room in the Sundown Hotel and wait for Michael to arrive or to contact Sara.

Nikki sighed inwardly… she could only hope that Michael would show up.

She was aware that they had indeed worked out the meeting point, but there was no hint of a time to meet up with him. To be honest it was possible that Michael could already have been there and left for good, or that he wanted to meet Sara in that Hotel in December next year. So many possibilities – and no way to find out the correct one.

Surely she would not mention these thoughts to Sara, that would only bring her down again.

She stole a peep at Sara to find her finally asleep.

Sara seemed relaxed, she slept with a warm smile in her face and her hands pressed tightly around an open magazine on her chest, showing a little picture of a laughing Michael… She looked so thin and fragile, but to see her smile in sleep showed that she must feel better than yesterday.

A sudden feeling of love and protectiveness for her friend rushed through Nikki, and she vowed to herself that she would do all to keep Sara happy, to help her find Michael.

Sara had been through so much… she earned to find happiness and love… and Nikki would be there for her…




***********************************

Driving toward Albuquerque with a sleeping Sara at her side left Nikki space to think about all that had happened in the last two days… and immediately her thoughts returned to those few minutes with Paul.

She sighed…

Like always when she thought about him, his scent filled her senses and she could feel his lips against hers, the touch of his fingertips on her face.

Immediately she could feel goosebumps crawling over her skin, and her heart jumped – Nikki’s mind ran wild, she was not able to stop thinking about what could have happened between them if he didn’t have to go, if they had not been in a public place…

Gnawing at her lower lip she let her mind wander and enjoyed the sensations flooding her, feeling aroused and breathless only thinking of him… of his beautiful periwinkle eyes looking deep into her blue ones, of his hands roaming her body, tangling her hair, removing her clothing piece by piece… she could feel him touching her breasts, could feel her body respond to his ministrations, could hear their breaths becoming raspy and eagerly, then he started to kiss her, hot and demanding, trailing wet kisses down her neck, making her arch against him… The heat of his body, with well defined muscles set her on fire, a moan escaped her lips, she wanted to feel him, the softness of his skin against hers…

He was playing with his tongue along her collarbone, kissing and biting - and finally finding her breasts, sucking in her soft flesh, making her squirm and groan deeply in sheer pleasure…

She could feel a sharp pang of desire shoot through her body, piercing through her core. Her nipples had hardened and were aching for touches that never came – and than she was jerked back into reality by the angry sound of a horn.

Wide-eyed and with a quick movement she brought the car back on her lane, only seconds before they would have made contact with an 18-wheeler.

Sobered and with her heart beating painfully in her throat she glanced at Sara who was still sleeping without knowing how close they had been to death.

Nikki gulped audibly and tried to calm down, to push all thoughts of Paul away, to ignore her body aching for a man lost to her - and to stop trembling all over with desire and shock inexplicably interwoven.

She shook her head – she must do something about that… Paul dominated her thoughts even though she knew that she would never see him again. Thinking of him had just almost taken their lives!

She need to get over with it… the one way or the other…




***********************************

Nikki stopped in Albuquerque and refuelled the car without waking up Sara.

She slept so deeply that Nikki didn’t want to disturb her slumber – she needed it so badly.

She locked the car and walked into the little store and paid.

The shop clerk acted weird – the girl had literally her mouth hanging widely open and stared at her.

Nikki frowned – what was her problem?

“May I have my credit card back, please?” she asked slightly annoyed.

“Uhm – ehrr… yeah, s-sure!” the teenager stumbled and hustled the card into her direction.

Nikki shot a not too friendly glance into her direction and turned to leave the gas station – and froze in mid-step.

Her eyes grew big, and now it was her turn to have her chin drop to her chest.

Scowling in disbelief she shook slightly her head, lifting a trembling hand to cover her mouth.

“Dear lord…” she mumbled, and felt her knees buckle under her weight.




***********************************

She looked shocked into her own face and into Sara’s – both staring down at her from a wanted poster.

Sarcasticly she admitted to herself that she never had paid attention to those posters – and now she had not only seen two of them within three hours, she was mixed up in this mess and obviously she was now playing a leading part in this game alongside Sara.

Hearing the familiar noise of someone dialling numbers on a cell phone snapped her out of her shock.

With a jump she was at the door, ripped down Sara’s and her own staring faces from the wall beside and ran quickly to their car.

Quickly she unlocked the car, jumped in and drove off with creaky tyres, her heart beating so rapidly that it hurt deep inside her.

Sara jerked up into her seat and eyed wildly around. “What…!”

“Here, take a look at this, we have to get rid of this car and vanish as soon as possible!”

With that she handed the poster over to Sara and filtered with skill into the flow of traffic on the main street.

A stifled sound emerged from Sara whilst unfolding the poster and staring at their portraits.

“That’s… uhm… that’s not good…” she chocked out, her voice sounded strangely flat and lifeless.

Than she read aloud:

Wanted – if you have any information on the whereabouts of these women please contact immediately 3-555-724-771.

Dr. Sara Tancredi
Known Alias: Kelli Foster
Description:
Age - 29 years
Sex – female
Height - 5' 9"
Race – Caucasian
Hair – red, long, wavy
Nationality - American
Eyes – brown
Wanted for accessory in jailbreak and breaking bail.

Nichola Ann Tyler
Known Alias: none
Description:
Age - 28 years
Sex – female
Height 5'
Race – Caucasian
Hair - dark red-brown, short
Nationality – British
Eyes – blue
Wanted for interrogation concerning jailbreak.


Both women glanced shortly at each other and than Nikki’s typical british black humour came through

“Well – it’s a pity… we are infamous now, they put our pictures all over the place and the best they can do is those lousy ones? Can’t they do it any better than that? They only needed to ask properly – we would have come back for a shooting, wouldn't we?”

Sara giggled about that, and smirked. “I agree… if Michael sees this picture of me – he would run away…”

And with that loud laughter filled the car.



***********************************

In Los Lunas they stopped in a sideway. Across the street was a car dealer.

Nikki took a larger amount of cash, placed a baseball cap on her head and put the sunglasses on - and then entered the shop.

Half an hour later she returned with a 2 year old blue Honda Civic. They drove off into the outskirts and repacked all their belongings into the new car, stealing nervous glances over their shoulders whilst working silently hand in hand.

Then they abandoned their old car and continued their way to Gila, each of them lost in their own thoughts.



***********************************

6 hours later and without any new troubles they finally drove in the car park in front of the Sundown Hotel in Gila.

They sat in their car without moving, staring tiredly at the illuminated sign of the Hotel, full of expectation and somehow on the verge of panic at the same time.

Sara was the first to break the silence.

Licking her lips she stated nervously “So… will you get us a room? And… what next? I mean… if he’s here he surely doesn't have a room under his name… and I can’t take one under my name… so how will he know that I’m here?”

She sighed.

Nikki watched her friend for a minute, noticing the little signs of stress and hope, of fear and desperation struggling to get the upper hand.

She reached out and lifted Sara’s chin, forcing her to look her into the eyes.

“Hey – Sar, I tell you what… we've come this far and we will master the rest, too. Come on, let’s go in together, they don’t need to see your face so put the cap on, but they will remember that a redhead has booked a room in here… maybe Michael will ask for a woman looking like you… and this way he will find it here…

Come Hun, don’t be down, we are a strong team! …always have been… Let’s go!”

And with this she smiled brightly at Sara and could see her react to her words, Sara straightened her shoulders and deep within her amber eyes Nikki could see hope rising.

“Ok, let’s do it… let’s take that room… and than we will have to wait and see…”
End Notes:
*phew* they have finaly reached Gila... ;)

What do you think so far?

:)
Chapter 13 - Screaming Souls by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
Soooo... thanks for all readers who are still with me and who had left reviews! :)
Now let's look what happens to Michael... *gulps* o.O
*******************
Screaming Souls
*******************

The car parked in a little dusty side road near the train station.

It was dark outside and cold like always in deserts at night and the sky above was spotted with thousands and thousands of stars.

The man in the car had no eyes for the beauty of the desert night, his face was hidden in the additional shadows his car threw into the dark.

Teddy grimaced bad tempered. Lynndyl wasn't really worthy of being called a hamlet… it barely had a store and he hadn't found any bars or inns.

He could feel his impulse to kill rising, it grew more and more urgent… first his little tryst with Pretty backfired and he had almost killed that boy too easily, too quick for his gusto and now he could not find what he was seeking for: a place to let off steam, to find compensation for doing all the things he want not to do on Pretty – at least not now.

Rolling his tongue between his teeth he sat in his car, lurking like a carnivore in it's den and thinking intensely about his next step.





******************

Michael had lost his feeling for time and location.

After his crawling out of the window he had run off, but discovered in an instant that he could not held the pace he tried to maintain.

Breathing was hurting too much and he felt spacy and light-headed - his head throbbed with fiery pain with every step.

He hardly had made his way behind the big house which held what were probably motel-rooms as he stumbled and fell for the first time.

Unsteadily, he gathered himself and tried to stand, only to find his surroundings dancing and wavering around him.

So he had sat down heavily again and started breathing in and out, trying to control himself until the throbbing in his head subsided a little.

Carefully he stood up and started to walk slowly further into the dark of the night, but only a few steps ahead he tumbled again, falling hard on the ground… laying there, staring at the wild dancing stars above, panting hard, shivering in the chill of the air… waiting to rebuild, to find the strength to raise on his feet again.

If only the world would stop spinning, if only his head would stop pounding.

Suddenly he jerked up into a sitting position turning his head sidewards – then he vomited where he sat, again and again until his frantic choking didn’t produce anymore bitter bile.

With a shaking hand he wiped his mouth, wincing as he touched his swollen face and split lip.

He could cope with the pain, but his spinning head, that disoriented feeling, the problems with focussing his sight – and now his vomiting – were signs of a heavy concussion.

Michael gritted his teeth. He must hurry up, he had no idea when T-Bag would return, but he needed to be far away when that moron made his way back to the bungalow.

But where to?

He closed briefly his eyes and tried to will his brain to work like he was used to it.

Before he could run he needed to know where he was, or he would surely be out of the frying pan into the fire.

What did he know? What could he remember?

They had been in Tooele, and T-Bag had driven… southwards. At least as long as he had been of sound mind, he sighed.

It has been already dark as he had come to consciousness again.

That left a margin of in about four to eight hours, he could be everywhere.

Michael sighed in frustration – that didn’t help.





******************

He knew for sure if he had to return to Pretty now he would kill him too quickly… and he would regret it forever. He wanted to play his full repertoire on that boy, not only simply rape him and kill him off. Noooo… Pretty deserved so much more than that…

Shortly he thought back at his discovery of the scars and frowned.

Whoever had done that to Pretty had been an abrasive slaughterer, that person hadn’t had a sense for a perfect body… like that jackass Abruzzi, who had cut off Pretty’s sweet toes and his own hand… His tongue twitched angrily and vanished with a clicking sound in its dark cavern.

And then… Pretty’s strange reaction, his total withdrawal from the present – it was obvious that he not only had suffered pain through brute force before, Teddy was quite sure that the boy had his cherry popped already long, long ago in his childhood.

He sighed… so he would not be the first to do the dirty with Scofield… but – an evil grin stretched his features – for sure he would be the first one to knead Pretty’s insides in his adult life… and that had to be enough…





******************

He opened his one seeing eye and his look fell on the Motel. And suddenly he knew how he could find out where he was.

Slowly he stood up on his shaking legs and moved groggily to the entrance of the motel – the way there seemed to take hours, and he needed to make short stops now and then to recapture his breath.

The dancing crimson spots started to whirl in his sight again – but adamantly, he forced his way forward, step by step.

His stubbornness was rewarded with the sight of an information board – showing the name of the city and its location and where the local landmarks could be found.

Eagerly he scanned the documents, but again he had difficulties in focussing, big black and crimson spots got in his way and his headache increased furiously.

But he managed to find out that he was here in a village called Lynndyl and his fogged brain delivered him the needed information – he was in about 2 hours away from Tooele, southwards, like he thought.

Michael decided to follow the road – in his bad shape it would be lethal to run straight into the desert. On the other hand to follow the road would be dangerous too – surely T-Bag would come back that way? But Michael would see every car in the dark from a distance and would have simply to drop down onto the ground to avoid being seen by T-Bag or another person.

And so he began his long, painful journey, shuffling slowly on unsecure legs along the road, stumbling and falling and crawling up again, only going on because of his stubbornness.

After a while the road had company from railtracks, but Michael barely noticed them. He fought his way through the red fog of exhaustion, through shrivelled and rustling bushes and the unevenness of the ground… he followed the road, and the railtracks did the same.






******************

Suddenly he saw a movement in the scrawny bushes between the railroad and the street.

Teddy narrowed his eyes, leaned forward to get a better sight and watched closer… what was that out there in the dark?

He blinked in surprise – what the hell…

And then a predatory smile crept over his face “Look, look, look – what do we have outta there… good ol’ Teddy must have been a good one, now he’s gotta present” he drawled to himself, grinning greedily from ear to ear.

Like always he could rely on his Karma.

Still smiling dangerously he opened silently the door and left his car, strolling confidently towards the railtracks to hunt down his prey.





******************

Michael’s head shot up with a start and he just kept himself at the last second from falling again – he must have passed out for a second whilst walking.

Something was not right. He was no longer alone in the dark, he could feel it.

He stood frozen in the blackness and tried to shallow his breath, to eavesdrop into the night, but all he could hear was his own blood rushing through his veins.

Was there something? Could he hear another being breathe the cold air?

He could feel his knees start buckling under him – to stand stock-still was a bad idea when he was hardly able to keep himself upright.

And then he lost this battle, he could no longer keep still, he had to move his left feet to stabilize his shaking body, and the little sound of this movement cracked in his ears as loud as a shot…

Immediately he was blinded from a sudden glare, its brightness pierced his hurting brain and made him double over, moaning in pain, and the sharp barking of dogs sent his headache to a new level…




******************

“Hey! Did ya lose ya way?” his voice rang out kindly through the night and made the lean figure in the bushes jump.

Teddy returned to the opened door of his car and turned two little switches so that on the one side the driver’s cab was bathed in warm, friendly light and on the other side the parking lights illuminated the night.

Then he talked again to the young girl which stood caught in the movement like a deer, not daring to move one little muscle,

“Don’t be afraid, ya look like if ya could need some help. And if ya want too – I would help ya, ya only need to say one word…”

She licked nervous her full lips, and tucked with a slender hand her dark, shoulder length locks behind her ear.

Teddy turned his head slightly and watched that girlie closer… she was young, about 18 he would say – a little too old for his preferred playthings… but… he gnawed slightly on his bottom lip – she would do… she really would do fine…

She wore a dark, low-slung jeans and cowboy boots, a white shirt with plunging neckline and a jeans jacket; she was a little bit to thin for his taste, but she had a pretty face, friendly dark eyes and the swell of her breasts under her clothing stirred something deep in his guts.

And best thing was the backpack and the desperate, lost expression she was wearing – that girl was alone and definitely a runaway… easy prey…

With an effort he altered his greedy grin into an open, kind smile and spoke up again

“Come on, girl – ya look cold ‘n hungry, and my ol’ lady at home is always cooking more than I can eat. Ya can come with me, warm up and eat a snack, it’s not far from here… and I’m sure if ya want my ol’ Nelly will prepare da spare bed for ya…”

The girl sucked on her bottom lip and looked doubtful from left to right, like she was trying to work out if she should run or not… a fresh breeze ruffled through the bushes and made her shiver heavily.

Gulping visibly she nodded finally and shyly approached the car, ready at anytime to turn and run away.

Teddy smiled genuinely at her and watched with growing arousal her tired, but graceful movements.

As she arrived at the car she lifted her face and looked at him for the first time, her smile bashful and nervous,

“Thanks for your kind offer – I… uhm… I really would love to get something warm to eat… but… I have no money” and her brown eyes dropped at the ground, a sweet subtle blush crept over her face.

Teddy’s smile widened and with his softest voice he said: “No problem, girl… be our guest, Nelly loves to have youngsters ‘round…”

She nodded slowly, and a small little smile started to lit up her face.

“Then come, get in… its cold outta here… I’m Teddy by the way – what’s ya name, girl?”

Whilst opening the door he could hear her silent voice “I’m Yenneffer – but you can call me Yen” and with that she climbed into the car, fastening the seatbelt and embracing herself with her thin arms.

Teddy, still standing and with his face out of her sight flashed a hungry smile into the night, his sharp teeth blinked white and dangerously in the dark, before he changed again into the charming southerner and entered the car at the driver’s side.

“Ok, Yen it is… Well Yen, than let’s go, get ya a warm meal, Nelly will be angry with me if I would let ya stay any second longer outta here in da cold…”






******************

He could hear a short whistle - and in the immediately following silence the unmistakable sound of the barrel of a shot gun slamming into place,

The angry voice of a woman cut through the night,

“Don’t move or I’ll shoot you like a mad dog!”

With difficulty Michael raised one shaking hand over his head, still bent over, heavily resting his weight on his other hand, his eyes squinting against the extreme intensity of the light which threatened to pierce his brain.

“What are you doing at my property? Are you that bastard who’s stealing my eggs?”

Michael was totally flabbergasted at this. After robbing a bank, going into prison, fighting against the threats of prison-life and for the life of his brother, after all the difficulties of running from the authorities, after his unintended reuniting with T-Bag – after all of this mess he would now get shot by an angry farmer, blamed for stealing eggs?

Helplessly Michael started to laugh, overwhelmed from the ridiculousness of the situation, from the stress, exertion and deprivation of the last month, from the pain of his injuries – he laughed so hard that the tears started to flow.

The humour of all of this was of course not visible for his captor, and so she stood there, hands at her hips, the shotgun lying in the crook of her arm, her dogs at attention at her side and watched unbelieving the stranger, who laughed and laughed and laughed until his hysterical laughter turned into sobs.





******************

Teddy was actually enjoying himself… making small talk with the girlie at his side and inhaling her innocent scent was very relaxing, especially because his mind already started playing his ‘lil games with her… he could see her eyes widen in panic, could hear her stifled screams when he would press her down into the cushions… he could almost taste her, he licked his lips anticipating her warm sweet blood filling his mouth after he bit her.

Oh yes… she would taste sweet… she was young and freshwater… just right for him to work with her… to make her his…

A short glance in the rear-view mirror showed him that he started to sweat slightly, the foresight of stimulating things to come affected him and his dark eyes gleamed dangerously.

He needed to get it on slowly, or he would give himself away – and that would destroy all the fun he could sense coming up for the next hours.






******************

Katherine Thornston was used to know exactly what to do. The times to feel crestfallen or helpless had long gone – at least after the death of her husband 40 years ago.

It had been a tough time for her, a mother of 4 little children with a farm out in the harsh farmlands alone – but she had managed to keep it all together… somehow.

She had fended off all the admirer’s who suddenly sprung up like mushrooms, greedily glancing at the young woman and her acres of good land and remarkable number of cattle.

She had fended off the banks coming down on her, trying to persuade her to give up, to convince her that she never could pay back the loans, that she should sell her property now before she run it down.

She had fended off the prejudiced stares of the neighbourhood, who whispered disgustedly about that young woman trying to survive alone without husband, who tried to act like a man, who refused to take another man in her bed.

And she had fended off the rumours that she had to do something with the death of her beloved husband Charlie – he had died under strange circumstances and until today she got quizzical looks and from time to time the rumours boiled up again.

Her kids had all become respectable adults and started their own families – but they had moved away. They came back several times each year and she loved it to have her grandchildren run around – but it was not the same like having them all living with her.

So – she had fended off the solitude and alongside the normal work on her farm she was breeding Hovawart’s – a big and special kind of dog, kind and loyal – and predestinated for guarding home and hearth.

She was a strong woman, 65 years old, short white hair framing her weathered but friendly face, her grass-green eyes as sharp as ever, her frame still slender and willowy.

She had thought nothing could throw her a curve anymore – but she had been mistaken.

Seeing this stranger having a break down on her property startled her.

Carefully she approached the man and Thorn and Timbo, two of her dogs escorted her to him.

He was still crooked and had one hand protectively uplifted whilst his whole lean body cramped in silent sobs.

As she could see him better she was taken aback – his long sleeved shirt was covered in blood and his face seemed to be a bloody and swollen mess.

“Sweet Jeez…” she mumbled – all the blood on his shirt must be his own, he looked like somebody had gotten the better of him.

“Thorn - Timbo – down!” The two big dogs, one blonde, the other red laid immediately down, observing their mistress and the stranger attentively.

Cautiously she got onto her knees and took the outstretched hand of the man in her own, rough hands – he had very long, smooth and elegant fingers, she noticed absently. Promptly he stiffened and flinched away, a choked cry of pain on his lips caused by the sudden movement.

Her face softened and with a soothing voice (like she would talk to an injured child or dog) she talked to him,

“Hey… come on, boy… you look badly hurt. Stand up and I will help you to my car. I'll take you to home and we will see what’s wrong. If the worst comes to the worst I will call Dr. Brady… Come on son – you need to get up…”

Michael, lost in a world of pain and bad memories felt drawn to the kindness in her voice and so he let her help him up to his feet and stumbled with her to the car, feeling big, warm and soft bodies on his side, strangely supporting and guiding him.

With a painful grunt he slumped down in the seat of the car, too distracted from his exhaustion to be aware of what was happening to him.

A short order and the dogs jumped on the open cargo area of the vehicle, curling up comfortably with dangling tongues and panting slightly, stretching their noses into the wind, completely satisfied to be with their mistress. Than the woman entered the car, shot an apprehensive glance at her half unconscious companion and started the engine.

The old car rumbled away along the dusty road, the roar of the aged engine reverberating long after the dust had settled again, and finally the silence of the night was recaptured, only breached from the whispering of the wind in the withered bushes and the frantic chirping of the crickets…






******************

“Soooo… Yen… tell me… what had ya been doing outta there in da night? Hadn’t ya parents told ya that it’s bad medicine to go outta in da dark alone, especially if ya are a cute lil’ thing like ya?” He used his blurry and drawling dialect to find a soothing tone and could feel the girl respond to it – she looked less tense then a few minutes before.

Drawing a deep breath Yen looked out into the darkness, and responded with a soundless voice “They are not giving a hoot about me… they hate me…”

Setting up a concerned and unbelieving face he said “No, Yen… they are ya parents -they are supposed to love ya… ya don’t wanna tell me that ya running from home? Ya Momma surely is freakin’ out righta now, ya know?”

Yen’s bottom lip started to quiver and a little hand shot up and wiped angrily at her eyes.

“No. They will not miss me… It will be much more quiet for them when I’m not longer at home… they never believe me, they are always controlling me and they always think bad of me…”

Awww… she was crying now… they were all so lovely when they were crying… a greedy glow spread in his eyes and this time he couldn’t stop his tongue moving between his lips, moistening them, playing with them. He could feel his arousal growing…

And suddenly he had a vision of what he would do with her… an evil grin deformed his face into an smirk, blessedly not noticed by Yen – she was too stricken in her own suffering, so she missed his changing in behaviour, the darkening of his features.

He would bring her to his bungalow, where Pretty still involuntarily slept his beauty sleep… she would see the blood and the beaten up boy and would start to panic… he would discipline her a little, only a little, just enough to make her compliant.

And then he would force them both to play together… to perform for him… he knew Pretty good enough that the boy would do everything to guard the girl, even if he didn’t know her… and Yen would be too scared to disobey.

Teddy gulped heavily, his breath sped up at the image in his mind and he felt uncomfortable at the sudden constriction in his jeans.

He hardly could wait to arrive at the motel…




******************

Michael came back from the dead as a hot pain jolted through his face.

He set up straight with a hiss and started to panic – he couldn’t see – he was blind!

Immediately his hands came up to touch his face – but they were caught in mid-air and softly bent down again.

“Ssshhh, don’t… I’m cleaning your wounds, relax…”

With his breath coming in sharp gasps Michael tried to do what the woman said. He racked his brains – what had happened? He had been crawling through the desert… and then… what? Dogs barking? A flashing light? He was not sure, all seemed dizzy and fogged.

Where was he? And who was that woman? Had she already discovered who he was? Where was T-Bag?

He winced slightly. Despite her fingers working as softly as possible on his face and at the back of the head, it hurt like hell.

He cleared his throat, suddenly aware of how thirsty he was and tried to speak – but all he did was a croaking sound – so he tried again.

“Please…”

Again he could feel a hand on his, feeling rough, but warm and friendly, squeezing it reassuring.

“Just a few moments longer, the Chamomile-extract only needs a few minutes to soothe… Then I will wash your face carefully, and will see what I can do else for you. If it’s too bad I have to call the doctor.”

With that Michael stirred and wiped her hands away.

“No… please – no doctor!” he choked out and tried desperately to get up.

He needed to get out – it was not safe, he must… with a groan he slumped back in his half sitting, half lying position. Even so he could not see his head started spinning like crazy.

He could hear a sigh from the woman, then her hands were back on his face.

“I will remove the cloth now and wash you face… it will hurt, but please try not to move, otherwise it will hurt you more…”

Michael nodded wearily. He could feel her cautiously remove the warm cloth and then she started to carefully clean his face.

Normally he would bite his lip to get through it – but considering his swollen and split lip he clenched only his wrists and concentrated on his breathing.

“Ok… now please try to open up your eyes…”

He did like told. His left eye opened up without any problems and his right eye opened just to a slit – but it was much better than before.

Michael looked at the woman in front of him. She was an elderly woman, her face weathered, but her appearance and demeanour led him to the conclusion that she was younger than she looked.

Kind green, very clear eyes looked at him with concern.

“Good – that’s not too bad – it’s swollen, but your eye seems not to be hurt, I will give you some ice for it later. I can nothing do for your lip, it must heal from alone. But that gash…” she pointed above his left eye. “I would prefer to call Dr. Brady to stitch it up…” she shook her head as she felt Michael try to get up again “…but I can at least rivet it with some stuff from my first aid kit… and the wounds on the back of your head are only scratches thank god. ”

She busied herself with his gash, it was rather painful, but… Michael had a sudden flashback – it had only been a few weeks earlier, he had sat in the infirmary and a pair of amber eyes had watched him with concern whilst soft hands had worked on the same piece of flesh.

A wave of desperation and longing washed over him – where was Sara now? What was she doing? He could only hope that she was safe and sound, that she would be ok…

“Sooo – that’s it – that’s all what I can do here for you…” the voice of the woman ripped him from his pondering over Sara. She sat back and gave him one long, inquiring look.

Then she turned and snapped a glass of water and some pills from the table next to her.

“Drink that and please take the pills – they are painkillers, they will help you a bit.”

Michael nodded and took the glass in a shaking hand, gulping the pills down with difficulty and enjoying the feeling of the fresh water soothing his sore throat.

It was only a moment later that he realised that his upper body was naked, that the woman must have removed his bloodstained shirt – and that nothing was left to hide his traitorous tattoos from her eyes.






******************

Finally they arrived at the motel.

It was in about 11 p.m. and the whole facility seemed abandoned.

That only fitted into Teddy’s plans – it was really dark outside, he was sure the girl would not realize that they had driven to a motel until it would be too late for her.

To play the nice and fatherly ‘John Q. Public’ got more and more on his nerves – he hardly could wait to show that girl the real Teddy…

Teddy killed the engine and turned off the lights. Then he opened his door and glanced quickly around – no one to see, and it was quiet… good…

“C’mon girl – let’s go inside…” he offered and left the car.

Yen followed a little hesitantly. She was not sure what she had expected – but for sure not to find his home drowned in darkness.

Teddy had locked the car and showed her the way to the darkened bungalow.

Looking around awkwardly Yen asked with slightly shaking voice “And you’re sure that you wife does not mind getting a visitor in the middle of the night?”

Twiddling with the lock of the door and touching Yen’s elbow at the same time with his artificial limb Teddy felt his patience wearing thin, but he responded with a light darker timbre in his voice “No… don’t ya be afraid girl… I can assure ya that’s no problem at all. Ya’ll see…”

Suddenly feeling really uneasy – especially after the touch of his dead hand - Yen tried to get more space between them. The man had been friendly, but she didn’t like to feel him that near and somehow she had the strange feeling that… that the man on her side was no longer the man she had sat with in the car.

She gulped and tried to back up – but at the same moment the door finally opened and Teddy led her resolutely into the dark room, hustling her forward as she moved too slowly.

It was still dark in the room when she could hear the door falling into place – and the sound of a key turning in its lock.

With pounding heart and wide open eyes Yen tried to enlarge the distance between her and Teddy, but could feel almost immediately the wall in her back.

There she stood… shaking now… staring blindly into the dreading darkness, not daring to move, barely daring to breath… what was that for a strange scent in the air? Slightly sweet and… like copper… it filled her nostril’s and made her gag… it smelt like… blood? With that thought she could feel panic rising now – hot, red and pure.

Why doesn’t he turn on the light? Why had he locked the door? Why did this happen? Why could she smell blood? What had she done to deserve this? WHY HAD SHE BELIEVED A STRANGER AND ENTERED HIS CAR???

A soft whimper escaped her lips and it took her a moment to realize that this strange sound had come from her.

“Welcome, Sweetness… welcome into my lil’ world…” his sudden husky and slurry sounding voice whispered directly in her ear, she could feel his hot breath at her skin and felt her hackles rise in an instant.





******************

Immediately Michael tried to cover his tattoos. He knew that it was a futile attempt, she truly had seen all of them and had enough time to put two and two together.

And she had. He could see it in her eyes.

Fully aware of his discomfort she sat down at his side and looked him deeply in the eyes.

“Ok Mr. Scofield, I clearly have an advantage over you now. I know who you are and that you are on the run. But you know nothing about me.

So… to even it out – my name is Katherine Thornston, but please call me Kat. And I am NOT calling the Sheriff, at least not now. So please stop looking at me like I’m Lucifer’s mother in person.”

She smiled at him and it was that open and warm smile that finally helped him to relax a little and let him smile back as far as his painful features allowed.






******************

Her up-bubbling scream was scotched immediately with his arm covering her mouth, his weight pinning her against the wall like a butterfly and his free, healthy hand bruised painfully the soft flesh of her breasts, twitching violently her nipples between thumb and index finger.

Yen tried to fight, she bit in his arm, but he slapped her head hard against the wall.

Her knees buckled under her, but still he held her tightly up against the wall and now he gripped with one hand roughly in her hair, his nails scratching over her scalp leaving bloody marks and jerked her head back, exposing the soft flesh of her throat and neck and held her upwards with immense force.

Then she could hear his cold voice hissing through the dark, dripping with menace “Don’t ya do dis again, Sweetness… don’t even try… if ya try I will slit ya up, from here…” his prosthesis stabbed brutally against her core “…to here…” and trailed upwards until it reached her throat .

Silent tears started to stream down her face as he crashed his hot lips over hers and forced with pure brute his tongue into her mouth.

Only seconds later he bit deeply into her lip and pulled back, she could not stop the cry of pain and felt immediately her hot blood dripping down her chin.

A strange guttural sound escaped Teddy, drinking in her taste, savouring it – and then his fist connected with a deafening pang with her face, sending her flying into the pitch black of the room, flicking over something what felt like a bed and slumping hard on the ground.

Like a broken toy she laid motionless on the floor for a few seconds, a helpless tumble of limbs, panting heavily and moaning in pain.

Only now he turned on the light, the sudden brightness made Yen whimper.

And then she realized even through her dazed state that something was terribly wrong.





******************

“Why?” was all he could manage to reply.

Kat nodded slightly like she had expected this question and looked into the distance. “Well… that’s not easy to answer, Mr. Scofield. Maybe I feel somehow bonded to you. Because you fight against windmills… and that’s a fight I know too well.”

She shrugged and smiled at him.

Again clearing his throat Michael smiled wearily at her “Thanks so much, Kat – I don’t know how I can ever repay you for your kindness!”

Kat laughed silently “Well – we will see, Mr. Scofield… firstly you could start with telling me how you have got those injuries?”

Michael drew a deep breath. T-Bag… Oh god – almost he had forgotten about the fact that this monster was still out there.

He closed briefly his eyes and tried to focus…

“Kat… you know who I am. So you know for sure who has broken out with me.”

She nodded and frowned a bit.

“Have you heard from the con named ‘T-Bag’? The child abuser, rapist and murderer? Please… you have to listen to me know…” and he started to explain…






******************

Barely able to move she heaved herself up into a sitting position, immediately embracing her knees in a childlike pose and glancing fearfully at her tormentor.

Teddy stood at the door, his fingers still on the switch, his mouth blurred with her blood, his face darkened and so different from that of the kind man who had offered her a ride – he stood stock-still, staring stunned at the bed on her left side.

Wearily she turned her head and flinched away from the bed. The bedding was rumpled – and squirted with gore. Little pieces of wood where spread everywhere and two bloody pairs of handcuffs laid on the bed – but apart from them the bed was empty.

With an uproar off pure hatred Teddy jumped forwards and frantically searched the room.

Yen curled instinctively up into a ball and tried to be as invisible as possible, silent sobs shook her slender form.

Ripping down the curtains in his rage Teddy finally revealed an opened window with blood smears on the frame, the wall and the glass.

“Son of a bitch…” he mumbled, staring blankly out into the darkness and than at the trail of blood. The fingers of his good hand touched the dried spots and rubbed over them, his gaze somehow distant.

Pretty had managed to escape… the bitch had gotten away! Snapping back into reality he gnashed his teeth in anger and turned a few moments later with smouldering eyes back to Yen, searching for an outlet for his fury, gathering greedily in her slender, shaken frame – and she knew for sure that this was her end…

Rocking softly back and forth she started to pray, her bloody lips mumbling soundlessly, glittering tears trailed like sparkling diamonds down her face and mingled up with the blood covering her chin and throat.

Relishing the sight he casually strolled closer, inhaling her angst and the scent of her blood, wallowing in the power he had over her, stretching his arms wide to both sides and rolling his head from side to side in effort to release some tension.

A murderous light was now glowing deeply within his eyes, his face a grimace of bloodlust, his tongue held hostage between his teeth, its tip twitching agitated, his hands unknowingly opening and closing in anticipation.

Yen could not bear it any longer. Her senseless mumbling stopped and she closed her eyes, the trembling had taken control over her whole body. She closed her eyes and waited for his touch.

Almost softly he caressed her tear streaked cheek before he lifted her up and threw her down on the bed, holding her down with his dead hand whilst the other started to undo his clothing.

Finally the games had begun. And it was about time…





*****************

He could hear the sirens in the distance.

His heart started to race and he could feel heat flushing his body.

Nervously he gulped and rose from the bed, carefully avoiding touching the outstretched body at his feet.

He approached the window and stared out into the thick blackness of the night and it didn’t take long for the flashing red and blue lights to come into sight.

Instinctively he stepped back into the shadows, although knowing that it was futile…

The sirens were not coming for him – at least not this time.

The Police cars sped past the farm – multiple miles away, using the main road to rush into the direction of the motel.

Feeling her hand reassuringly touch his shoulder made him almost jump out of his skin.

The big blonde dog on his feet – Thorn? – cocked his head and looked at him, his abiding eyes examining the stranger, than looking at his mistress. He yawned, showing an impressive number of sharp teeth and lowered his head back on his fore-paws.

Michael turned to Kat, and she smiled at him.

“Don’t worry… they are only after Bagwell. I have told Sheriff Myers that I have seen a man looking like that maniac Bagwell driving towards Sinclair’s Motel.

If they come to ask me questions, you can stay here in this room. It’s safe.”

Releasing his breath Michael smiled back at her.

“Thanks again, Kat… I can only hope that they will get him… but I fear it was a mistake to use the siren’s, T-Bag will be long gone before they will reach the motel…


*** °°° *** *** °°° *** *** °°° ***

Finally he gotten rid of the boundaries of his jeans and started deftly with his good hand to undo her clothing.

First she seemed too paralyzed with fear, but when he brushed up her shirt and revealed her small, tight breasts to the cool air he could see her returning into reality.

Her beautiful brown eyes widened in horror as she caught sight of his manhood standing at full attention and immediately she crept backwards.

A quick grip of his good hand in her hair and a punch with his bad stopped her, low sobs escaping her gorgeous mouth, still swollen and bloody from his first bite and kiss.

“Keep still my Sweetnesss… if ya keep still da good ol’ Teddybear will be nice to ya… ya’ll see… just keep still… and maybe it will be fun for ya too” he smirked down at her.

He grapped the hem of her jeans and pulled her back to him, opening the button and zipper in process, caressing the soft flesh of her flat stomach with his fingers, admiring the immediately uprising goosebumps on her skin.

He was now shaking in anticipation, lustfully he bent down and bit her violently in the creamy curve of her hip, admiring that the girl had the strength to choke down the scream.

Grunting heavily now he was pulling at her jeans when he first got the dull feeling that something was not right.

Stopping in mid-motion he closed his eyes and tried desperately to focus on something else then the soft, quivering flesh beneath his hands, ready for him to get marked with his touch.

Growling grumpily he pricked up his ears – what the hell?

He come to life with a start, mumbling cuss words under his breath and pulling his jeans back up over his collapsing erection.

Without a second glance at the broken and sobbing figure on the bed he grabbed his shirt, the backpack and the car keys, unlocked the door and vanished out into the night.

Only seconds later the motor of his car roared up and he sped away in a breakneck speed.

As the police cars finally arrived all they could find was a half naked, blood covered girl. She was shocked and non responsive, she not even tried to cover her nudity.

They wrapped her lean form into a blanket and called the ambulance, mulling helplessly over what might have happened here.

Only one thing they knew for sure: Whoever had done this to the girl had escaped.
End Notes:
*looks around* What do you think? Tell me, please! :)
Chapter 14 - Phonecalls / LJ by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
I know I have much readers out there... please, take a heart and a little time and let me know if I'm doing good or not... ;)
It helps me a lot writing when I know that I have some readers who like what I write! :)

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*****************************************
*** Intermezzo - Phone Calls 1 – Kat ***
*****************************************

*****************
*** Flashback ***

“Hey Sue, it’s Kat! Is Sheriff Myers in his office?”

The brown eyes of the shorthaired woman at the bureau desk lit up with curiosity,

“Hello Kat – yes, he’s in. What’s up? More stolen eggs?”

Kat chuckled slightly,

“No, I’m not calling because of the stolen eggs. Can you please put me through? It’s important…”

Sue’s voice became a touch colder, she hated it be kept out of the loop,

“Of course, Kat. See ya!” she answered with a businesslike voice and with that she linked her to the Sheriff.

Only a second later Kat could here the deep rumble of the Sheriff’s voice,

“Kat? What can I do for you?”

“Good evening, Sam… Listen, you have seen the news about these ‘Fox River 8’?”

A short silence, then,

“Yes, of course – how could I not? Why?”

Kat hesitated one moment, than she took a deep breath and said: “Well… I’m sure I have seen one of them…”

Sheriff Myers tightened his grip on the phone “What? Kat – if this is a joke…”

Now she sounded a little annoyed,

“Sam, whenever have I been in the mood to make jokes with you? I tell you I was working on my fence down the road and I saw him… he drove an old Buick and took the road to Sinclair’s Motel.”

Again the silence stretched a little longer than usual and she could hear him rummaging in his desk.

“Ok… which one do you think you have seen?”

“That murderer… Bagwell. Oh Sam, I’m so sure about it… those eyes… I still feel cold inside. Please, send all your boys out… if it’s really him he will be cornered like an animal in a trap at Sinclair’s. And he is surely dangerous.”

A deep sigh followed.

“Ok Kat. I believe you… you have never spoke nonsense before and I trust you in this. Hopefully Sinclair will be ok.”

Kat answered also with a sigh – she was very relieved and could feel the tension release a little.

“Thanks, Sam. I’m sure of it. Please make sure this monster goes back behind bars.”

“I will… Thanks for the hint, Kat – I have now work to do. Talk to you soon!”

“Yeah, and take care…”


*** End of Flashback ***
************************



*****************************************
*** Intermezzo - Phone Calls 2 – Linc ***
*****************************************

“Channel WW-News, you are talking to Kyra Mitchell – what can I do for you?”

Lincoln paused for a second, than he spoke up,

“Hello, I have just seen the news and there has been a report from a reporter named William Prall of Headline Press, Chicago.

Is there any possibility that I can get in contact with Mr. Prall? It’s very important!”

Lincoln held his breath and licked his lips nervously.

“You can leave a message, we will contact Mr. Prall for you. Than he can decide if he wants to call you back.”

The door on the other end of the room opened and C-Note stepped in, clad only in a big white towel, his muscular upper body glistening with drops of water.

He wiped his face with a smaller towel and glanced grinning at Sucré, who laid on his back snoring, his arms dangling loose from the cot, his mouth wide open.

“Ehm… yeah, yeah – I wanna leave a message… Please tell Mr. Prall that… Mr. Abraham called. And I have news for him from his sons. He should call back as quickly as possible, it’s urgent. And my number is 3-349-891-222.

Please, Kyra – it’s really urgent. He needs to contact me asap…”

“I will try my best, Mr. Abraham. And I will explain that it’s urgent, maybe it will help.” answered the receptionist friendly.

“Thanks so much for your help, Kyra… Have a nice day!” with a deep drawn sigh and very grateful Lincoln disconnected the call.

Then he slumped down on the bed and turned the cell phone in his hands.

Hopefully that nice girl got hold of ‘William Prall’, and hopefully that was really his Dad… Lincoln rubbed tiredly at his face. He could only hope that LJ was ok. He needed him to be ok…





*******************************************
*** Intermezzo - Phone Calls 3 – C-Note ***
*******************************************

C-Note felt refreshed and had taken some of the clothes Lincoln had offered.

He had rummaged through the bag and had found several original boxed prepaid phones Michael had bought in advance.

Staring at them his thoughts immediately turned to the place where his heart belonged – to his beautiful wife Kacee and their sweet little daughter, DeDe… Those two women were his life.

“Uhm… Linc?” he poked carefully the half-sleeping form of the big man on the small cot.

“What! W… uh… C-Note…” an immediately alert Linc jumped up from the cot.

“Easy man, sorry… I just wanted to ask if I could use this one?”

C-Note winked with the boxed cell phone at Linc.

“I need to call my wife, and I’m sure her phone will be wired… so… this would come in handy… if it’s ok with you, of course…”

Linc’s gaze dropped at the little box in C-Notes hand and his face softened.

“Yeah, go ahead, man… you can have it… I have ton’s of those… Michael had two of them in every hideout on our way from Chicago to Utah… He --- “

Suddenly his voice broke and he stopped in mid-sentence, took in a deep breath and averted his eyes from C-Note.

C-Note knowingly patted his back and murmured a “Thank you” before he left the room to seek for a quiet spot to make his call.

Finally he settled down in the still empty kitchen.

With shaking fingers he dialled the number of his home.

What would he do if Kacee---

“Hello?”

“Oh my god, Babes… how I missed your voice…” he murmured into the phone.

“Ben – Benjamin is this you? Oh my god, Benjamin… where are you? Why have you never told me… why… I mean…” heavy sobbing stopped her words.

C-Note squeezed his eyes shut, tears started immediately to flow “Baby, Kacee – please… stop crying… I’m so sorry… I just wanted you to be proud of me… Please Baby… I’m no criminal… I’ve never been… You must believe me…”

Now they were both sobbing, the pain he felt in his heart threatened to tear him into pieces. He loved her and their baby so much… how could he fix it? How would he ever been able to fix this mess?

“How can I believe you? Maybe all of ‘us’ was a lie? Maybe you have never been to Iraq?” her angry and tearful voice rung through the connection and hit him squarely in his core.

“What? No… no no no – I had been in the army, I have served my country and my country had served me up!” he replied fervently, feeling anger bubbling up.

“Baby… please – you must believe me… I did nothing wrong in Iraq… I saw what some soldiers did to a prisoner and I reported it… they asked me to step back from that report and I refused… and then they accused me and I got a dishonourable discharge…”

He could hear her breathing heavily into the phone.

“Gimme just one good reason why I shouldn’t turn you in right now, Benjamin. Only one good reason…” Kacee chocked out.

He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, embracing himself with his free arm and pressing the phone as close as possible on his face, like if he could get this way somehow nearer to his wife. “Kacee… I… I have three reasons for you: me, you and our beautiful little girl… Once I had the army, it meant so much to me - but I don’t give a fuck for them now!

But I have you and DeDe… that’s all that counts for me! Kacee… I love you… I love you so much… and I never wanted to disappoint you...”

“But you lied to me, Benjamin! You lied to me! You could have come to me with anything, you know? I loved you, I loved you with all I am – we would have found a way… but… you lied to me… how can I believe anything you say?”

Kacee’s voice broke.

“Baby, yeah… I know… and it’s inexcusable… I’m so sorry… You had married a man who had been somebody. I had my life under control… and you needed that.

I didn’t want you to see me like the others… I tried so hard to get a job back in Chicago… but… no one wanted me, Babe… Firstly I’m black, second I was dishonourably discharged and third even for the lowest jobs they didn’t wanted to employ me because I had been ‘over qualified’. Can you believe this crap? I would have worked for the waste disposal or for McDonald’s, but they didn’t take me because I have learned too much in the army!”

Kacee only cried harder on his words.

“Please… Baby… please… I love you so much… you and DeDe – you both are my world… without you both life is worthless… Kacee?”

Silence drummed through the phone, only broken from her silent sobs.

C-Note wiped his eyes, and tried again “Kacee, Baby? Do you hear me?”

“Y-yeah… I’m here, Benjamin.”

“Please say me that you’re still my life… please…”

Her sobs pierced through his heart, all he wanted was to reach out for her and tuck her in his arms.

“I… I love you, Benjamin… so much… b-but what will happen n-now to us? H-how can we be a family? Oh my god, Benjamin, you shouldn’t have called me… what if they f-find out that you have c-called?”

C-Note closed his eyes and a big relieved smile lit his face – she still loved him… Oh Jeez… she still was his…

“Baby, I love you too… you just made me so happy… but now listen to me… it’s important… I want you to meet me in 7 days from now on in the Rainbow Room, remember the beautiful spot were we took that picture – the one next to the window? And how happy we had been then?”

“U-huh…”

“I’ll be waitin’ there for you… All I want in the world is to have my girls there. Please Kacee… I need you and DeDe… Please say yes… meet me there.

Ok Baby?”

Kacee nodded, her tear-streamed face shimmering in the soft glow of the lamp.

“Yeah… w-we will be there, Benjamin.”

C-Note released the breath he had held whilst waiting for her answer.

“Good Kacee… I have to go now – don’t forget we will meet in 7 days… give DeDe a kiss from her Daddy and tell her I love her… and I love you, too…”

With a trembling voice and with fresh brimming tears she answered “And I love you, Benjamin Miles Franklin…” but was only met with a soft clicking sound and silence…


**************************************************
*** Intermezzo - Phone Calls 4 – Padre Vasquez ***
**************************************************

He sat in the old comfortable chair in his den and thought about his visitors and the poor boy who was so badly wounded that he was had been hours under the doctor’s knife.

Was it right what he wanted to do?

Padre Emilio sighed and watched his fingers as they caressed the pearls of a wooden rosary, dark and smooth from years of usage.

It was a predicament. Should he really involve a young innocent girl in this? Should he call Debra-Jean Belle?

On the other hand the boy had massive injuries and he was not sure he would survive the surgery.

His – maybe last? – wish should be fulfilled.

Finally he nodded. He would do it.

He grabbed the receiver of the vintage telephone and dialled the number he had searched earlier.

Whilst the phone rang through he turned the little desk light on – it was quickly getting dark outside and his den filled with shadows.

“Belle?” he could here a girls voice answering his call.

“Debra Jean?” the Padre asked friendly.

“Uhm… yes? Who’s there?”

“I don’t know if you remember me, Debra Jean, I’m Padre Emilio Vasquez from Angel’s Grove. And I need your help.”

A short surprised silence, than “Of course I remember you, Padre Emilio. What can I do for you?”

Padre Emilio smiled to himself – what a nice girl. She sounded so friendly.

“Well… firstly I need you to listen intently and please, it’s a quite delicate topic, I need your promise you will keep it private…”

Now the silence grew a little bigger before Debra Jean answered hesitantly “Ok, I agree. How can I help you?”

Sending a little ‘Thank you’ to his god Padre Emilio started to tell.

“Debra Jean, that will be not easy for you. I have here a badly injured visitor who is asking for you. And… he is in very bad shape. I don’t know if… he will stay with us or if he will give his soul to our lord.”

This time the silence on the phone was palpable.

With a very soft voice Padre Emilio tried it again.

“Debra Jean – have you an idea of whom I am talking?”

Sounding very shaken and tearful Debra answered quietly “S-scott? Ehr… uhm… no, I mean… David? Oh my god, please… don’t let it be him!”

“I’m sorry, Debra Jean, but yes, it is David. He asked for you… do you think you can come? I would not bother you if I didn’t feel like it… it would be necessary. Can you come?”

“S-sure… My father is working tonight, I will leave him a message that I’m visiting a friend… I will be there – uhm… I think in an hour…”

Smiling the padre answered “Thank you so much, Debra Jean. I will wait for you!”

Clearing her throat she answered “I will be there, padre.”




*************
LJ
*************

LJ had stopped sobbing a while before.

He felt a little embarrassed that he had lost it in front of a stranger and above all in front of a beautiful girl like Selene.

He had not really been aware of embracing her until his tears had ebbed – and suddenly he felt her soft warmth holding him, the silkiness of her shimmering hair on his hot face… and in that moment he noticed that she was hugging him too, that her graceful fingers stroked soothing his back.

The scent of her – was it a perfume or her shampoo, he didn’t know – it made him somehow dizzy and… what? Longing? Longing for what? He didn’t know…

He opened slowly his eyes like he would be afraid that the girl and the comfort of her cuddle could vanish immediately like a dream - all he could see now was her silvery hair, the colour of it fascinating him, inviting him to run his hands through it.

LJ shifted slightly and now he could see her porcelain white skin, her dainty neck, appearing even much more fragile with the fine fabric of the iceblue scarf she had slung elegantly around. He could see her perfect earlobes with the little silver earrings and ruby’s in tear form dangling from them, he could see the beginning of her perfect jaw-bone… if he only would turn his head a little more he would be rewarded with the sight of her wonderful eyes framed by long eyelashes, and maybe the corner of her full, rosy lips. But he would be too close to do that, because if he would turn just a little more his lips would graze her cheek… and he wondered, how her smooth skin would feel beneath his lips.

Suddenly he felt his whole body sending signals, from head to toe, centring in that special part of his anatomy which would give him away mercilessly and embarrassingly - his breathing rate increased immediately at the overload of pleasant feelings, her warmth, her softness, the cool silk of her hair, the swell of her breasts against his chest.

Oh god… he didn’t dare to move, he had the feeling he would explode with the feelings overwhelming him. He had never felt anyting like this, not even as he and one of the hottest girls of his class had made out on the couch of a friend at a party back in Chicago.





*************************

Selene must have felt the changing in his body language too – his breathing against her sensitive skin made her shiver and goosebumps spread all over.

She stopped in mid-motion and he could feel against his chest that she sucked in a deep breath and stiffened slightly in his arms.

Feeling the tension building around them Selene was not sure how to react to this, her mouth felt suddenly dry.

Awkwardly they maintained their embrace, neither of them able to break it or to go on – both possibilities felt strange and wrong.

Selene felt rattled to her core… the embrace she had offered to comfort LJ had turned into something more, something so much deeper…

Her breath became shaky and she gulped audibly, the nearness and heat of LJ’s body were - both at the same time - thrilling and scaring. And those different feelings unsettled her and got her out of balance.

Never had she felt something like this. She daren’t move – was it because she didn’t want to break the embrace nor she wanted to get it more… more what?

She felt so… shaken.

As suddenly her cell phone came to life and beeped, causing both of them to jerk apart and blush deeply.

Selene was not able to hold LJ’s inquiring glance and reached with a shaking hand for the little device.

Her grey eyes flew over the message and then her slim fingers moved over the buttons, typing an answer.





**************************

LJ didn’t look what she was typing… his glance was drawn to the shadows her long eyelashes were casting on her pale skin and than he could not help himself and lowered his glance to her lips.

With much effort he drew a deep breath and averted his eyes – he felt so confused that he didn’t know what to do. He shifted his body into another position in a desperate attempt to cover the big bulge in his jeans.

Then he could hear the scraping of a pen on paper – Selene was writing again, thanks to god, she was distracted so he got a little time to compose himself.

Again he wondered why she couldn’t speak. Was she mute since her birth?

He sighed… all he wanted to hear was her voice… for surely it would be a wonderful voice…

Selene touched his hand softly with her cool fingers and startled he looked up into her vivid grey eyes, moistening his suddenly dry lips with his tongue, alluring her stunning eyes to his mouth with that movement.

Shaking herself out of confusion Selene handed him the pad.


They have informed me that we will drive for in about 2 ½ hours to a Safe House in Peoria / Phoenix, they will meet up with other agents; they are still trying to get hold of your Dad and Uncle, but they have covered their tracks very well so far.

They will discuss what they have found out and decide the next steps.

*sigh* I can tell you from experience that will get long and boring… but maybe it’s not so bad this time because I will have company… *smiles*



LJ stared at her words – it felt a little strange that she used words in stars like they would exchange emails, but it was a way to express feelings like she would really talk about.

A smile spread over his handsome features at the thought of spending more time with her.

“Ok… and… what are we supposed to do – sit and wait? Nothing else?”

She nodded with a mischievous smile on her face and grabbed again for the pad.


Yes, normally they have to discuss everything and I’m not initiated into all what they are planning.

Usually I will meet up with my teachers and get new topics or tests – school stuff… *rolleyes*

But this time they are not sure how long we will stay at the safe house… They have taken something important from the Company – you – and they will not stay too long in one place. It’s safer that way...

And – if I have luck – my Aunt will show up… *looks hopefully*



He read the page and spoke,

“Oh… so you don’t go to normal school? And your Aunt is in this… organisation? How did you get into this anyway?” LJ asked her curiously.

He felt at once that he had hit a sore spot… One second before she turned away he could see her beautiful eyes cloud with hurt and sorrow.





****************************

He cursed himself for his curiosity – but… he wanted to know more about her. Her fragile presence touched something deeply within his heart.

Sheepishly he laid his hand at her small shoulder – she felt tense under his touch and he pulled away like he had burnt his skin on her.

“Selene, I’m so sorry… I shouldn’t ask you that, I’m such a dork…” He chocked out, feeling bad for making her sad.

Slowly she shook her head and took in a deep breath.

When she turned back and faced him he could see tears brimming in her eyes – fascinated he realized that the colour of her eyes had changed and was now a deep almost violet tone.

He opened his mouth to apologize again, but once more she touched his lips with her cool fingers and so he shut it again, relishing in the feeling of her fingers on his skin.

Almost he protested as she pulled back and put with shaking hands the pad and pen up again.





*****************************

This time the writing took much longer… He watched her and could see how hard it seemed to be for her to write down what was bothering her. Sometimes her pale hand came up to brush a cheeky strand of hair back behind her ear… or to wipe over her eyes…

The longer she wrote the more LJ was anxious about what her story would be.

Rethinking his own way which had led him into this car and to this ethereal girl he come to terms that he would for sure be confronted with something bad.

It seemed like ages when she finally was ready.

Sitting at the big back seat she appeared so forlorn and vulnerable – in LJ grew the wish to touch her, to pull her in another embrace, this time to comfort her.

He could see her sighing soundlessly, than her clouded eyes met his and he felt a jolt hitting him deeply in his soul.

LJ had the feeling that she was scanning him now, her bewitching eyes seemed to look directly into his very soul… With effort he held her glance, returning it more calmly then he felt inside. Finally she nodded and handed him the pad, folding her arms around her small frame in a manner of self defence and staring blankly out of the window at the passing landscape.

LJ glanced at her some moments longer, drinking in her fragile beauty and didn’t know what to think. And than he lowered his eyes at the pad, filled with her neat and womanly handwriting and started to read.





*****************************

Sorry for my reaction… it’s only… *sigh* It’s not easy to talk about it…

I’m with this organisation – let’s call it the AC, the short form of ‘Anti-Company’ – since I was 5 years old… I have been here for 10 years.

My Aunt Jane had been working for the F.B.I.

A colleague of her – Gary Miller – was already on the payroll of the Company, but my Aunt didn’t know about it.

She fell in love with him – and he lured her into the Company.

Aunt Jane was working on a Top Secret Project and ’The Padman’ needed her… ( ‘The Padman’ or aka ‘The General’ – he is as far as we know the head of the company – was at this time still personally involved, was still working ‘in the field’)
He needed her to pass him some information, and with the help of Gary Miller she was about to do what he wanted from her.

Then the AC stepped forward – and opened her eyes.

Aunt Jane was shocked… she loved Gary Miller so much, she was about to marry him and had believed all his lies that he was working to reveal a conspiracy within the F.B.I. . He had convinced her that she needed to give the information away to ‘The Padman’ to save the government.

But all was a lie, all his gathered clues and evidence, it was all a set up… As she realized what happened, that she was no longer working for the F.B.I. and the government she had sworn to protect she tried to back up – but it was too late.

‘The Padman’ contacted her – but Aunt Jane refused to give him what he wanted.

He is a very gruesome person, LJ, he has no scruples… He will always go for the family to ‘bring out the best in you’.

And so he did…

Before long he spied out Aunt Jane’s family.

There was only one sister – Nancy, and her 5 year old daughter, Selene.

*sigh*

My father died in a car accident shortly after I was born, my mother was alone with me.

Aunt Jane tried to help whenever she could and she was often at our place… and towards the end often with Gary Miller, her fiancé.

On… on that day we had been on the playground, my mother and I…

I remember that place so well, I loved to play there.

It was slightly raining that day, but we loved the rain… We were always singing and dancing in the rain and I remember my mother closing her eyes and turning her face up into the falling drops…

She stood there and let the rain wash over her face… and I was only a few metres behind her, with my rainbow coloured rubber boots and was jumping over the puddles.

Suddenly there was that man.

He was big and bulky… he was bald, and his eyes were so… cold… like little pebbles. I didn’t like his smell… he smelled… somehow funny… I can’t describe it… but I will never forget it.

He was suddenly at my side and his hands touched my cheeks and my long curls.

“Hello little one, I’m here to meet you and your mother – I’m a friend of your Auntie Jane. You can call me ‘Padman’” He whispered to me.

I remember how my heart jumped, but than I was only filled with joy – he had mentioned Aunt Jane. She had been very busy that time and I hadn’t seen her for a while.

And I called my mother “Mum, Mum, there’s a friend of Aunt Jane!”

My mother turned around and her happy face changed into a scared frown.

“Selene – come to me, now!”she demanded – but the man had gripped my arm and held me tight.

I tried to go, but he didn’t let me go and my mother started to scream at the man he should release me.

His grip hurt… I started to cry…

Suddenly there were more men, and they… they surrounded my mother, they gagged her and… dragged her to a car.

I screamed for her, but there was that man- that ‘bad man’…

I tried to run to her, but he didn’t let go of me.

“No, little one… you come with me… we will join your Mommy and your Auntie later…” and he scooped me up and carried me to another car.

As we passed the car with my mother in it I could see her face, she was very pale and her eyes were so… big and she was crying, a dark patch covered her mouth and it looked like she was frozen in a neverending scream…

The man dropped me in his car and followed the other one. I sat in there and cried for my mum, and I could feel his cold eyes at me all the time. And he smiled…

After a long time we drove to an old abandoned industrial complex. They pulled me and my mother out of the cars and took us in a big, empty storage except of some chairs and strange electronical devices. Today I know that it was a video camera, but then it looked only alien for me.

My mother stretched her arms out for me and I wanted to run to her so badly, but the man didn’t allow it…

My mother was bound to one of the supporting beams of the building.

A black man activated the camera.

The ‘bad man’ – still with me kept in his arms - turned to the camera and spoke to my Aunt… I craned my neck and searched for her, surely she would be there somewhere when he talked to her? But Aunt Jane was nowhere to be seen.

He said in a friendly tone “Hello Jane – this is for you…”

He kissed my cheek and stroked my hair and I tried to shy away, but he held me too tight.

“You have screwed up and I show you what happens to the family of those who have disappointed me.

After receiving this video you have 1 hour to show up at the appointed rendezvous to bring me what I want or your beloved ones will be cold and lifeless when you find them.

And now – lean back and enjoy the show…”

He turned his head and his cold eyes pierced right through my soul. He ordered me to stay still and watch. If I moved or try to run to my mommy he would hurt her for that.

I didn’t understand… how could I? I was only 5 years old and terrified to my bones…

He winked at one of his men – and to my surprise my ‘Uncle Gary’ stepped forward and took me from the ‘bad man’s” arms.

The ‘bad man’ turned now to my mother and removed the tape covering her mouth with one quick movement.

I could hear her whimpering “Please – let Selene go… she’s only a little girl… please!” but the ‘bad man’ shook only his head.

I was whining for my mother… I wanted so badly to go to her… my mother was sobbing, I could see tears streaming down her face, but what I remember best was that her nose was running too.

That scared me – more than anything… my mother always told me to wipe my nose… and to see her like that… I think that was the moment when I really realized that it was bad…

Then the ‘bad man’ answered “It’s too late, Nancy…” he told her in a light tone like he would talk to her over the weather. “I tell you something about Family ties… these bonds are a fine thing… if you need help, your family is there for you… your family will stick by you whatever happens…

But… those Family ties should work in both directions…

If one of your family has screwed up – you will help to pay back…

I believe in family… and I believe in Family ties. And that’s the reason why you have now to pay for Jane’s failures… it will bring out the best of her, you will see…”

That was the moment my “Uncle Gary” sat me down and let go of me. Immediately I jumped up and tried to run to my mother.

The ‘bad man’ turned and his cold face let me stop in mid-motion.

“Little one, I told you that your mother will pay for that” he said friendly but with no warmth in his cold, dead eyes - and then he drew his arm back and punched my mother straight in the face.

Blood sprayed and I could hear a strange cracking sound, my mother screamed, and I screamed too and run to her – but was jerked back by Uncle Gary.

The ‘bad man’ turned again to me, now with an evil grin and some funny red sparkles all over his face.

“I said don’t move, honey… but you disobeyed for the second time” he said. “You’re a bad girl, and for that your mommy will get hurt” and he punched her again, this time in her stomach.

I started to scream and for each scream he punched her.

I don’t know how long it took, but suddenly he was done with her, he turned back to the camera and gripped me tight and turned my face into it, smearing my mother’s blood all over my face.

“You may come too late to save your sister, but if you like to see this little whore here alive again, show up and bring me what I want.”

And with that he simply opened his arms without a warning, he dropped me and I fell down to the floor. The ‘bad man’ went away, and his henchman with him.

Uncle Gary hesitated one moment, stroked my hair and said “Sorry” with a strange sounding voice, like he was talking through a pillow. And then he vanished with the others…

I ran to my mother… her face looked so strange and swollen, blood was everywhere… she was awake, and she was in pain… so much pain… and she didn’t recognize me… she looked right through me, her breathing sounded strange, and she was coughing up blood… so much blood…

I curled up into her and cried… I was so scared…

That moment seemed to stretch forever.

Then the ‘bad man’ and his men returned… The ultimatum came close to end, they were awaiting the arrival of my Aunt Jane.

I had been able to loosen mothers ropes, I wanted her to embrace me, but she… she didn’t react… the coughing had stopped, she was cold and still… she felt strange somehow, not like my mother… but I didn’t understand… I was crying all the time, but she didn’t soothe me like she always did… she even didn’t breathe…

She was already dead – but I… I didn’t understand…

My Aunt almost got crazy as she received the video. But the AC had been with her and they immediately tried to help.

They surrounded the old storage and it came to a gunfight…

As the ‘bad man’ realized that he and his men where outnumbered and that he would not get what he wanted he came back to me.

“Now your Aunt will see what she will get for her betrayal” he said, his cold eyes fixed on me and a gruesome grin deformed his face.

He had a knife… I was still crying and couldn’t take my eyes from the shining knife in his hands.

Suddenly I heard my Aunt cry my name, I remember I turned away from him and I screamed her name back – and than there was an incredible burning pain and I could hear Aunt Jane scream like I have never ever heard again an human being scream…

…and than my tiny world filled with red, hot pain and strange sounds and I felt cold.

I screamed but my screams never reached my lips and the world flipped and I was falling, and then there was my Aunt and an elder man, and my Aunt was crying and it hurt so much and then…

…all went black…

I… LJ, I think I have never told anyone the whole story… I don’t know why I have told it now to you… I’m so sorry…

It’s a story I’m barely able to cope with it myself… I’m sure that you will not like it…

Since that day my Aunt Jane is with heart and soul a member of the AC… she is trying to bring the Company down… to bring ‘The Padman’ and Gary Miller down…

And I’m in the AC too… after I had recovered from my wounds – my mother had been buried a few months – Jane had taken me to her… I’m all she has left from her family and she could not bear the thought of putting me in foster care.

So I have been with them ever since … I’m always on the roll… I have teachers everywhere… when we settle down for a while in a safe house they will teach me and I’m doing a correspondence course like people in Australia.

Well… that’s my life… I don’t know another… I love those people, they are my family…



LJ stared wordlessly and in horror at her writing.

That… that could not be the truth… that was too cruel…

He could feel tears running down his cheeks and with an audible gulp he turned to face her.





********************************

Her slight body sat in the seat, her lean legs tucked up to her chin, her arms wrapped around herself, her head resting on her knees and her eloquent eyes were watching him closely.

Her sweet face with the rosy mouth was sad and she rocked softly back and forth.

LJ cleared his throat and tried to talk, but he needed three attempts before he was able to find his voice.

“I… uhm… I’m so sorry, Selene… that’s…” now more tears spilt over and he looked back down on the pad, his sight blurred.

“You have written… I mean… you were talking… w-what… why… I mean…” he stumbled helplessly.

She stared long at him, tears pooling deeply in the lilac depth of her eyes.

Then suddenly she moved, she straightened up and removed with trembling hands the iceblue scarf from her elegant neck.

And revealed an ugly scar, about 9 inches long and circling around her throat and the small of her neck - LJ could not stop dropping his chin to his chest, his eyes bulging out of their sockets.

“Omigod” he chocked out and covered his mouth in shock, gulping down bitter bile.

Her tears brimmed over now, ashamed she turned away from him, with erratic movements and shaking hands she tried to rearrange her scarf, her lean body shaking with soundless sobs.





********************************

(((Song: “Deliver Me”, Artist: Sarah Brightman)))

As she felt his hands on her shoulders she jumped nearly out of her skin.

He turned her softly, but determinedly around and looked down on her tear-stained face.

Softly he touched her cheek and then let his fingers slide down her neck until he could touch the scar.

Desperately she tried to shove his hand away, but with his other hand he lifted her chin and looked her deeply into the eyes.

“It’s ok, Selene… Really…”

Paralyzed she looked up to him, her vivid eyes full of pain, loss and shame…


***Deliver me, out of my sadness***
***Deliver me, from all of the madness***



His long fingers trailed carefully over her scar, from left to right, and his eyes never left hers, his blue-green orbs full of understanding and… love…


***Deliver me, courage to guide me***
***Deliver me, strength from inside me***



Than he whispered, his voice low and raspy,

“You’re the most beautiful girl I have ever seen…” and lowered his lips to hers and gave her the softest of all kisses, his hand slowly trailing from her chin over her jaw to the back of her head, tangling with her hair, drawing her close.

Selene was caught by surprise. She was so overwhelmed from all the feelings which had bubbled up in the last hour, that she stood stock-still, her wide opened eyes were staring at LJ’s handsome face. He was so near now to hers, his eyes closed and covered from his long eyelashes… and only then she realized he was kissing her…

She didn’t dare move, she didn’t know what to do – and then she felt her stomach flip and her knees buckling under her by the sensations his kiss awoke deeply in her.

She felt dizzy and somehow light-hearted – and despite her first intentions she closed her eyes devotedly and relaxed into his kiss…


***All of my life I've been in hiding***
***Wishing there was someone just like you***



LJ felt her easing into his arms and deepened his kiss, pulling slightly at Selene’s bottom lip and giving her many, soft little kisses until he could feel her opening her mouth a little – and now he delved his tongue gently between her sweet lips, playing tenderly with the soft flesh – and was rewarded with her arching into him.

He opened his eyes again and pulled slowly back, his hand still cupping her face lovingly, watching her fey expressions change into amazement and smiled warmly as she opened her beautiful eyes and looked breathlessly at him.

For the first time in a very long time he felt happy and content.


***Now that you're here, now that I've found you***
***I know that you're the one to pull me through***



Fondly he brushed a silvery lock out of her face and locked his bluegreen eyes deeply with hers.

With a voice darkened with emotions he whispered,

“You are the most beautiful girl I have ever met, Selene… and that scar…” again he let his fingers trail softly along it, sending shivers down her spine “that scar only emphasizes your beauty…”

Her mouth opened in surprise and her eyes filled again with tears.

LJ pulled her into his arms and rested his head on hers, holding her tight and inhaling deeply her scent.


***Deliver me, loving and caring***
***Deliver me, giving and sharing***
***Deliver me, the cross that I'm bearing***



He was totally caught off guard from the intensity of his own feelings for Selene. He wanted to be as near to her as possible, and he wanted to kill that ‘Padman’ for what he had done to her and her mother… he wanted to protect her from all that could harm her.

But firstly he was totally chuffed about sitting here with her snuggled up into his arms.

If he had his way they would stay like this forever…


***All of my life I was in hiding***
***Wishing there was someone just like you***
***Now that you're here, now that I've found you***
***I know that you're the one to pull me through***






************************************

They must have fallen asleep, Selene tightly curled up into LJ’s arms.

As the SUV came to a halt both awakened with a start.

LJ smiled at her and she smiled bashfully back to him and sat up.

Then the door opened and both scrambled to their feet, drifting slightly away from each other.

The elder man LJ had seen in the library peered in and smiled at them.

“Selene – is everything alright?”

She nodded and suddenly her slender hands started to dance in front of her body and the man laughed and stroked her cheek. “Yeah, I’m sure she’s already there…”

Then he turned and looked solemnly at LJ whilst Selene got out of the car.

“LJ.” He said and nodded, his face lit up with a friendly smile, looking up and down on him with visible pleasure.

“Come in, son… Let’s freshen up and get you something to eat, I’m sure you’re almost starved…”

At that reminder LJ’s stomach started immediately to grumble and he realized that he was indeed very hungry.

“Uhm… yeah… that would be great!” he responded sheepishly.

“I’m sorry for the circumstances of our… ‘meeting’, I’m sure Selene has told you why it was necessary to get you as quickly as possible out there”.

“Yeah, she did.” Answered LJ, grabbed pad and pen and left the SUV, stretching his tired and stiffened body. His eyes darted around and searched for Selene – where had she gone so quickly?

They were in a garage of a little house somewhere out in the nothingness, both SUV’s were parked in it and couldn’t be seen from the street and a third blue one was in there, too.

One of the others neared them and the elder man smiled apologizing at LJ and followed the man deeper into the garage where the group discussed something concerning the SUV’s.

LJ took advantage of the situation and decided to search for Selene.

As he turned and scanned the area he could see her running to the front steps of the house and falling into the arms of a tall woman with honey blonde hair. She had bound the long, blond waves to a ponytail and was wearing a dark suit. Both hugged each other and it seemed like no one would let go.

That must be her Aunt Jane, LJ thought… he looked at her curiously.

The family likeness was clear to see, but where Jane was tall and sporty Selene was tiny and fragile and the colour of her hair was totally different.

Now Selene was ‘talking’ to Jane, her slender hands where flying and flattering in front of her, so quickly that LJ was totally in awe that Jane seemed to understand her.

Jane laughed and stroked a strain of hair out of Selene’s face.

Then her face got more honest and whilst Selene’s movements still seemed to gain more speed Jane suddenly turned her head, pursed thoughtfully her full lips and watched LJ closely.

In a sudden moment he felt somewhat nervous and it was like she would try to see into his soul.

LJ gulped. What was Selene telling her? Had she… had she told her Aunt of the kiss? And what if Jane didn’t like the idea of him kissing her niece? For sure she looked like she could kick ass.

He forced a smile in his face and greeted her with a nod… Jane’s blue eyes narrowed and were scrutinizing him forever, than finally she returned the nod and her glance drifted back to Selene.

LJ exhaled relieved. And jumped nearly out of his skin as a hand slapped amicably on his shoulder.

“Come on, son – let’s get in… I’m tired and hungry, and we have much to discuss…”

the grey haired man stated and led LJ into the house which both women already had entered.




*****************************

LJ stepped up the stairs and walked slowly into the house.

It was neat and clean, but he could see a staple of dusty sheets lying in a basket at the side.

So this house was usually unoccupied… he wondered how often the AC would use it as shelter?

As he passed the kitchen doors he could see various big paper bags lying there, full to the brim with groceries. Jane was rummaging through them and called for Selene for help.

The stairs to his left ascended to further rooms in the first floor, but passing the bathroom he followed the grey haired man into the amply living room.

Selene scurried past him and bestowed him with one of her radiant smiles which left him completely breathless and vanished into the kitchen.

Shaking his head to think clearly again he found himself eye in eye with the man who was patting a chair invitingly before he sat down on the couch.

Feeling suddenly nervous again LJ slumped down on the chair and rubbed through his wispy hair.

“Ok… to begin with – you know who we are?”

LJ looked up in the friendly face with piercing blue eyes and nodded. “Yeah, Selene told me… I mean, she…” he blushed and his glance fell down on his hands which were playing with a cushion. “Uhm… Selene had written that you call yourself the Anti Company, and that you have taken me from the Company because they wanted to use me as bait for my father and uncle.”

The man nodded. “That’s correct… and… has she told you who I am?”

LJ’s eyes darted back to the face of the stranger and he shook hesitantly his head.

“No… she didn’t… She said, that it was not down to her to tell me the whole story…”

The man closed shortly his eyes and a little smile started to play in the corner of his mouth.

“Ok… so… I’m very pleased to meet you, LJ… It should have been much earlier, but…” he sighed and his face became sad. “Well… my name is Aldo Burrows, and I’m your grandfather!”




******************************

LJ’s was taken aback at this statement and he didn’t know what to think. He jumped up and started to pace back and forth in the dining room, shaking his head in disbelief.

That man… was his grandfather? But… desperate he tried to get all the information which he had from his family.

There were his father and Uncle Mike… Their mother – Christina – had died when both were children… and their father Aldo – he had been an alcoholic and run off long before Uncle Mike had been born.

And now this man in front of him claimed to be his grandfather?

Tears sprung up but he bit them down…

“No! That… that can’t be! He left them when they were children! You… b-but…” and there they were… angrily he wiped at his eyes.

Damn! Could he only one time act like a man and not always like a crybaby?

“LJ, please, I know it’s hard, but…”

“No!!! You are an alcoholic, you have left them alone! You…!”

“Sit down! And listen… we have not much time and I have much to say… so please, sit down…” Aldo told him insistently.

With a petulant expression on his face LJ sat down on the chair, his arms folded protectively in front of him.

Aldo looked at him with a sad smile, and started to tell.





********************************

“It was all a fake, LJ… I have never been an alcoholic, but it was a good story to explain my absence to all the curious outsiders… and to the boys as well.

I had been working for the government and I was recruited from the Company.

It seemed to be a good possibility to work my way up, and I was young, cocky and ambitious. A bad mixture, if you ask me.”

He sighed again and rubbed with his thumbs over his eyes.

“The General personally recruited me. He seemed to know what he did. And what he told me sounded… reasonable and like I would really help my country. I believed him.

Soon I discovered that… that what I did was only a facade for the country… in real it was for him. For the General and his personal goals.

I wanted to leave the Company, but it was too late… I had jumped on the train and it got more and more speed and there was no possibility of deboarding.

Some tried it… and I witnessed what happened to them, or better said to their families.

The General always goes for the families first… he knows what it does to you, when you see your family suffer and die.

And after realizing this I knew what I needed to do: I had to save Christina, Lincoln and the baby, at all cost!

And it was at the cost of my love, my life and my family.”

LJ who had been moving uncomfortable in his chair whilst listening felt even more awkward as he could see his grandfather – and there was no doubt, he could see his father and his uncle in the face of the older man – wiping with a shaking hand some tears from his cheeks.

Aldo cleared his throat. “I told Christina that I had to go… and that she had to change her surname and that of the boys. It was the hardest thing ever to do that. But I needed them to be safe.

Only after that I could do what needed to be done.

After they had vanished I took my time and gathered as much information as I could get to bring the Company down and planned my resignation.

It worked. I always tried to stay in touch with Christina, but…” Now the tears were flowing freely “…but I had been abroad for a few months when they discovered that she had cancer.

When I came back she and the boys where nowhere to be found ... it took me weeks to find out what had happened…”




*****************************

“It broke my heart to discover that Christina had died… and I had not been there to hold her hand, I had not been there for my boys…

Frantically I searched for them.

Lincoln was easily to find, he had been in Juvenile several times and – why I will never understand – he had started to use the name ‘Burrows’ again.

But Michael… he was so quickly moved between foster families that somehow he got ‘lost’ in the system… it took me too long to find him. And I had been too late… He…” Aldo stopped, his head hung low, and he took a deep breath.

LJ furrowed his brow – what did Aldo mean? He was too late to – what?

After a few moments Aldo was able to continue,

“Somehow they must have found Lincoln… probably because of his name. The General must have realised he could not get me he came up with the plan to set Lincoln up with the murder of Terence Steadman.

He knows too well how family ties and love work and he always uses this knowledge without remorse.

He knew I would not be able to let Lincoln die… he placed the fly in the middle of the net and now he only needed to wait for me to touch one of the strings… and here are we now.”

Aldo’s voice trailed off and LJ sat shivering in the chair.

Too fresh was in his mind what Selene had revealed to him and now this… he felt nauseous and hollow.

Too much had happened in too short time.

They sat in complete silence facing each other, both lost in their dark thoughts and memories.

Aldo’s mobile phone came to life and both of them jumped slightly.

Aldo smiled apologeticly at LJ and answered the phone.




*****************************************
*** Intermezzo - Phone Calls 5 – Aldo ***
*****************************************

“Hello Mr. Prall, here is Kyra Mitchell from Channel WW-News, I have a message for you from a Mr. Abraham concerning your sons.”

It took Aldo only a second to draw the right conclusions.

“Mrs. Mitchell, nice to hear from you. Mr. Abraham has called? What has he for me?”

“Well, Mr. Abraham said he had news from your sons. He said it’s urgent and ask’s you to call him back at 3-349-891-222.”

Aldo closed his eyes and breathed a sigh of relief.

“Thanks so much, Tyra… This is really an important call for me… Wait, I need a pen and pencil to write down the number… can you repeat it for me?”

He had removed a little note and a pen from his pocket and noted down what the girl repeated for him.

“Thanks again, Tyra! Have a nice day!”

“Bye, Mr. Prall!”




***************
LJ
***************

LJ stood up and turned to leave the room as he heard Aldo calling him back.

With a slight frown he turned back to see the face of the elder man breaking out in a big smile.

LJ shot an inquiring look at Aldo who still held the mobile phone in his hands.

“What would you say if we could call your father, LJ?” Aldo asked him smiling.

Looking surprised LJ couldn’t help and grinned all over his face.

“Really? My father? But… where is he?”

“We will see, just a moment, LJ…” Aldo said and started to type the numbers into his cell phone.




*****************************************
*** Intermezzo - Phone Calls 6 – Linc ***
*****************************************

After being woken up, Linc decided to use the bathroom next.

C-Note left the room with the phone and Sucrè was still snoring.

With a sigh he grabbed fresh clothes and his mobile and walked into the little bathroom.

20 minutes later he walked out, refreshed and definitely in a better mood.

If only his mobile would ring!

He went out to find the Padre and ask after Tweener, since the arrival of the second doctor had been a couple of hours ago and it was getting dark outside.

He found him in his den laying the receiver back on the old looking telephone.

Lincoln furrowed questioning his brow and the Padre smiled at him.

“I have reached the girl your young friend asked for. She will be here within the hour.”

Recognising the frown that flitted over the face of his guest he added “…and she will tell no one where she is going and to whom she is seeing. It should be safe for you all.”

Taking a deep breath Lincoln tried to loosen his stiff shoulders.

“Yeah… uhm… ok, I can only hope that you are judging her correctly, Padre.

I… wanted to know if there are some news over Tweener? He’s been in there for hours and I’m really getting nervous…”

But the Padre shook his head.

“No, Mr. Burrows, I’m sorry… it seems they are still operating on him.”

Linc sighed.

“Ok… just – inform me please if there is any news, ok?”

“I will…”

Lincoln nodded and left the den.

What should he do now?

He left the building and sat down on the still sun-hot bonnet of his car, inhaling deeply the quickly cooling air of the desert – and at this moment his mobile phone started to ring.

Staring down at the phone in his hand he almost didn’t dare to press the button to answer it – so many thoughts were shooting simultaneously through his mind.

What if… it was Michael? Or his father? And what if his father had no idea where LJ was? What if… the pushy ringing of the phone snapped him back into reality and quickly he took the call.

“Yeah?” he asked cautiously.

“Mr. Abraham? This is William Prall… you tried to reach me?”

Lincoln closed his eyes and breathed out with relief.

“Thank god… I hoped it would be you… Have you seen LJ, is he with you? I need to know where he is, he is just a kid and I…”

He was interrupted by Aldo “Easy son, stop! It’s all ok, LJ is here with me… I'll put him on in a second and then we need to discuss how we can get together. But first – here is LJ…”

Lincoln closed his eyes and licked his lips.

“Dad? Dad is that really you?”

“LJ…” a faint smile widened Lincoln's lips.

“Dad, you will not believe what happened to me! In the prison…” and LJ told Lincoln all what happened to him in the last few days.

Linc was too happy that LJ was safe and sound to interrupt him… he just closed his eyes and enjoyed the voice of his son washing over him, the sudden feeling of normality felt so good and yet so strange to him.

As LJ’s flood of words stopped for a moment because the boy needed some air Lincoln said “LJ… I’m so relieved that you are ok, buddie… I… I thought I had lost you. Please… do what Aldo want you to do, ok? I need to talk to him so that we can meet as soon as possible and than I want to hear everything ok?… I love you, son… take care.”

LJ felt momentarily offended, but he could see that it was important for his dad and grandfather to speak.

“Ok Dad, I love you too…” and he gave the mobile to his grandfather.

Releasing a deep breath he turned to leave. His Dad was ok and he would see him and Uncle Mike soon again. He was bursting with joy – and he needed someone to tell it…

Selene…

A bright smile lightened his features as he thought of her. Selene… he just wanted her to know how happy he was…






*****************************

It was hours later, they had all eaten what Jane and Selene had cooked for them: A delicious Lasagna with fresh salad and Vanilla ice cream as dessert.

Aldo had informed them that they were meeting up with Lincoln in the middle – in Durango, New Mexico.

“We have another safe house there which is big enough for us all to plan out our next steps. And… we have a new problem.”

LJ who had just been searching eye contact with Selene looked concerned to his grandfather. He was still not used to thinking of the grey haired man as his grandfather, but the thought seemed already to be more comfortable than a few hours before.

Aldo sighed “It seems like my sons have been separated. That perverse Theodore Bagwell who escaped with them from prison has… forced Michael to go with him.

Lincoln has no idea of Michael’s whereabouts. But if he is with Bagwell we must fear the worst.”




*****************************

After that bombshell the mood changed.

LJ felt suddenly very concerned and tired and soon all of them left the kitchen.

The adults sat in the living room to discuss the next steps and Selene and LJ went upstairs to their bedrooms.

It was the first time for them to be alone after their time in the S.U.V. - and their kiss.

Selene showed him his room – it was a tiny little chamber directly under the roof with only one bed in it. There was no room for anything else. He opened the door and had to scramble directly onto his bed from the threshold.

Selene started to talk with her hands and LJ smiled at her.

She rolled her eyes at herself and laughed soundlessly, then she took him by his hand and led him in a slightly bigger room one floor below which she shared with her aunt.

“Wait – I have the pad and pen if you need it!” LJ told her, but Selene smiled and shook her head, her beautiful silvery hair flying around her lean shoulders.

She searched through a big bag and with a triumphantly smile she presented him a little device, the same thing she had used in the car.

Selene shoved it into his hands and took her own in her slender hands.

She started quickly to tip and his little device beeped only seconds later.

*This is some kind of messenger - it looks a little like a phone but its modified so you can only send messages on it. This way it is untraceable… you can keep it, it’s a spare one*

LJ smiled at her. “Hey, that’s great! But… how?”

And Selene showed him… but LJ had difficulties to following her lesson - she was too close, he could feel her warmth and the scent of her drove him mad…

Gently he pulled her in his arms and nuzzled his face in her silken hair, inhaling deeply.

Surprised she stiffened – but relaxed so quickly that he thought he had only imagined it. She slung her arms around his neck and their bodies touched along their full length. And she felt so good… LJ turned his face slightly and his lips connected softly with her jawbone.

Selene shivered at the exciting feelings his touch awoke in her body, she closed her eyes and enjoyed feeling him near to her.

LJ tenderly kissed her face, one little kiss after the other and stroked her hair and back, he exposed the sensitive skin of her neck and started his line of kisses there too – and was rewarded with a soundless gasp escaping from her lips and he could feel her body arch against his… which caused his core to react.

A little startled Selene pulled back and looked at him, a cute flush covering her cheeks, her grey eyes big and dark with unreadable feelings, her rosy mouth opened slightly and her breath quickened.

Then her eyes fell down on the bulge in his trousers and quickly she looked back at him, her flush deepening and LJ – now feeling strangely self-conscious under her explorative look – blushed too.

Selene stepped back and hid her hot face behind the silky curtain of her hair and busied herself with the pager.

His pager beeped again and licking nervously at his lips he looked down on it.

*My number is 774-Sel-7. If you get a message and you like to answer it just start typing and press Enter. If you want to send a message you need to…*

LJ read her whole message and typed in quickly

*Ok, I understand…* and smiled at her.

Selene smiled shyly back and typed again

*I think you should go now… I’m not sure what Aunt Jane would do if she finds you… with ‘that’… in my bedroom*

and she pointed down at the bulge in his jeans.

Now LJ blushed deeply and smiled sheepishly at her.

“Well… you are doing that to me, Selene… but… that’s a good point, I guess. I’ll go to bed now… Good Night!”

And with that he leaned in and placed another kiss on her adorable lips, cupping her face with both hands and as he felt her responding and opening to him he explored for the second time this day her soft flesh with his tongue, relishing in her taste and the feeling of her kiss.

With a deep moan he pulled back, his eyes darkened with desire and softly caressed her cheek with his hands.

Both were breathless, and with a husky voice he repeated “Good night… see ya tomorrow…”

Then he turned and left the room.

Selene stood there, staring at his lean figure leaving and a trembling hand came up to her burning lips, slightly swollen from his hot kiss.

She could not understand how a kiss could set her whole body on fire, she felt… she shook her head bewildered. She could not explain what she felt, not even to herself.

A few minutes later she went to bed, but sleep didn’t come. Her mind, her senses – her heart were full with LJ.

As her Pager beeped she reached for it.

And then a beautiful smile bloomed at her features

*I can’t sleep… I’m only thinking of you… I think… I – I really like you, Selene! *

Selene just typed back *me 2 xxx ooo*, her breathe quickening over her boldness but she had to admit to herself: she had never ever before felt that happy.




******************************************
*** Intermezzo - Phone Calls 7 – Sucré ***
******************************************

Shortly after Lincoln had returned to their little room Sucrè had woken with a scream, panting heavily and sweaty from head to toe.

“Hey Sucré – is everything ok?” Lincoln asked concerned.

Sucrè stared wide eyed around the darkened room and shook his head.

“No…” he whispered hoarsely. “I dreamt of Maricruz… and Hector…”

He buried his face in his hands.

Lincoln sighed.

Another dead end where nobody could help.

“Ey Papi, do you mind if I use your phone? I should call my cousin Petey…”

Linc smiled at him and nodded towards the bag on the other bed.

“Look in there and feel free to take one… you can keep it… and this time it’s not soap, I swear…”

Sucrè shot a little annoyed glance at Lincoln, then relaxed a little and chuckled slightly.

“Don’t remind of that, Sink, ok? That reminds me of Michael… I hope he’s okay…” he sighed.

That dusted the smile off Lincoln’s face,

“Yeah… I hope so too. I’m in the kitchen looking for something to eat, I’m starving…”And with that he fled the room and closed the door behind him.

Sucrè stared for a few seconds at the closed door and sighed again.

He had to call his Cousin – at least he had ‘borrowed’ the motorbike out there from his cousin and he knew how much he loved it…

Carefully he removed the mobile phone from the box and dialled the number.

“Cordero?”

“Ey, Petey, comó estás?”

Petey immediately recognized the voice of Sucré and started to yell at him,

“El maricón – where’s my bike? I hope for you that it is ok or I will hunt you down you…”

“Ey… Petey, cool down… your bike is fine, I swear, mi amigo! I just wanted to call you and tell you that! And say thank you for lending it to me. And…” Sucrè gulped heavily.

“I… would like to know if Maricruz is ok, if she is happy with Hector.” His voice trailed off and he bit his lip.

Silence rung through the phone, and than in a puzzled tone,

“You don’t know?”

Rubbing frantically at his shorn head Sucrè asked annoyed,

“Know what? Petey, what’s up? What should I know?”

“She said ‘no’ to Hector, Fernando! They were there at the Altar and she said ‘no!’!”

“What?????”

Petey sighed over Sucrés obviously dimwitted behaviour.

“They are not married, Sucré! Your little Chica is still wearing the name ‘Delgado’, not ‘Avila’. After your little performance in Las Vegas she ditched Hector and left him!”

Jumping up Sucré laughed,

“Madre mía – Petey, is that true? Eeeeeeyyyyyy!!!! Gracias a Dios, I can’t believe it! Where is she? Petey, I need to talk to her – where is she???”

A huge smile was plastered over Sucrés face and he was crossing himself, running up and down the room, no longer able to sit still.

“Ehrm… that could be a problem, Fernando… She’s not at home… she’s not in Chicago anyway.”

“What – but… where is she?” Sucré asked bewildered.

“Maricruz and Theresa are on their honeymoon… ehrm… no, that sounds wrong… I mean… Hector bought her a trip to Ixtapa in Mexico as a wedding present… Well, after she had rejected him she and Theresa went on it. We all think the distraction will be good for her – but Hector is of course mad at her…”

“She is in Ixtapa?” Sucré replied thoughtfully.

“Fernando, please, when do you think you can give me back my…”

“Petey, thanks so much – you have no idea what this means to me… Te debo algo, amigo! I owe you… wish me luck!”

“Fernando, no – wait!” but Petey was only rewarded with the beeping sound of the phone.

Swearing loudly at his cousin he hung up and stomped angrily away.





********************************************
*** Intermezzo - Phone Calls 8 – Michael ***
********************************************

The sirens had fallen silent a long time ago.

Michael and Kat had been standing together at the window and watching the dark.

Finally she had been able to convince him to leave his sentinel and led him into her big kitchen, followed by her dogs.

Each step was a struggle of its own, but Michael was determined to reach the kitchen. He had to.

His breath came in painful gasps but he had done it – he sat in a comfortable rocking chair, pressing with his left hand a big bag with ice on his face, stroking his right hand over the big silky head of one of the dogs and could smell the heavenly scent of fresh brewed coffee.

“Ehrm… Kat? I’m really sorry, you are already doing so much for me – but… could I ask you for a favour?”

“Of course, Michael. What is it?” Kat asked him with a smile as she served him a big mug full of delicious smelling coffee. “Sugar? Milk?”

“Yeah, both please…” he smiled at her.

“Would you mind if I used your phone for two calls? I need to contact my brother and…” Michael hesitated shortly. “…my girlfriend to let them know where I am and that I’m… uhm… somehow ok.” He smiled weakly.

Kat turned and laid her phone next to him.

She twinkled at him,

“I wondered when you would ask for it. Feel free.”

Michael felt ashamed of so much kindness. With a low and husky voice he thanked her, barely able to hold back the tears brimming in his eyes.

Patting his shoulder she said,

“It’s really ok, Michael. I’ll warm you something to eat, you look like you have not eaten in a while…” then she turned and started to rummage in her refrigerator.

With a deep breath Michael dialled the numbers of Linc’s mobile.

He only could guess how his brother was feeling now – hopefully he hadn’t done something stupid.

Almost immediately the call was answered. Linc’s voice asked tired and carefully,

“Hello?”

Michael released a sigh. “Linc… it’s me!”

“Michael! Oh my god, Michael – is it really you? Where are you, what happened, what has he done to you?” and then, with a louder and very relieved voice “Hey guys, it’s Michael!” and now he could hear other voices in the background.

“Linc, listen – it’s ok. I’m ok. I got away and I have found a very nice person who’s helping me. But… I could use a ride – can you come and collect me?”

“Yes, of course, Bro! Where do you need me?”

And Michael told him with help of Kat where they would meet tomorrow.

After a heartfelt goodbye Michael sipped from his coffee and found himself again stroking a soft ear of one dog. He must admit he liked the feeling beneath his fingers and the big, friendly dogs gave him a feeling of security.

Then, finally, he gathered enough courage, took the phone again and dialled with shaking hands another number he had memorized – the number of the Sundown Hotel in Gila.






********************************************
*** Intermezzo - Phone Calls 9 – Michael ***
********************************************

A bored and tired voice answered his call “Welcome to Sundown Hotel, I’m Lina Holler – what can I do for you?”

Michael felt relieved – a woman… that was good… he used his lowest and huskiest voice which made Kat turn and watch him with curiosity,

“Hi Lina, my name is Mike Crane, sorry for calling so late, but I need your help… I have met a wonderful girl last night… we had some drinks together and I promised to meet her again. But… I can’t remember her name, for sure it would have been better if I hadn’t drank the last beer… All what I know is that she is a guest in this town – like me – and that she is staying in a hotel or motel… and so I’m calling all possible places to find her.”

Michael did his best to sound nice, helpless and a little embarrassed at the same time.

“Please… can you help me? I’m sure – she is the ‘one’… and now I can’t find her…” and he let out a deep heartsick sigh.

How ironically he thought to himself. That sigh was no lie… he was really searching for the love of his live, he had lost her somewhere between the prison walls and his freedom – and he felt like a heartsick fool.

The girl on the other end was suddenly wide awake and her voice sounded sympathetically and helpful.

“Yes, I would like to help – but what can I do when you even don’t know her name?” she asked.

Michael sighed again. “That’s so true… but… I know how she looks like… she’s… stunning… beautiful… she… oh… that’s not helpful either… Ok… she’s tall, almost my height… so I would say almost 6', she is very slender, has wonderful long red hair and…”

He was interrupted by the enthusiastic squeal of the girl “Oh yes, yes – we have a guest looking like that!”

His heart jumped in his chest.

“Really? Can you give me a hint for her name? I’m sure, if I hear it I will remember it!”

Now Lina hesitated shortly. Then “I’m not allowed to give the names of our customers away… but… let me see… Her name is a combination. The first name is a flower with four letters and the surname is an animal with three letters.”

Michael closed his eyes and a warm smile crept over his beaten up face.

“Oh… now I remember… it’s Rose Fox, isn’t it?”

“Yes! That’s right, Sir! So the love of your life is really here, that’s so romantic!” the girl seemed to be happy about it, and Michael was almost disappointed that he couldn’t see her right now.

“Thanks so much for your help, Lina… Without you I would never have found her… Could you please put me through to her?”

Now a surprised silence followed, then,

“But Sir – it’s 1 a.m. – are you sure you will disturb her?”

“Yes, thanks Lina, but I’m sure I will… I promised to meet her today and I fear if I don’t call her now I will lose her… so please… put me through, it will be alright!”

“Oh, ok – maybe it’s better this way… bye – and good luck!” Lina said.

“Thanks again, and bye…” Michael answered, his fingers already tipping nervously at the wooden table in front.

The phone rang through… Michael licked his lips in anticipation and hissed slightly as his tongue touched the swollen and split bottom lip.

And then – finally he could hear a clicking sound, somebody must have picked up the phone.

“Fox?” the sweetest voice he had ever heard sounded through 750 miles of wires to him, and he breathed only a soft and relieved “Sara…” in his end of the wire.

“Oh my god… Michael – is it really you?”

Michael smiled at her words copying the words of his brother only a few minutes before.

“Sara… are you ok? I’m so glad that you have found your way to Gila, I feared…
I… There’s so much I have to tell you, so much I need to explain. I…”

But he was interrupted,

“Where are you, Michael? I have to tell you so much, too… I’m wanted now, you know? I’m on the run like you, and I don’t know where to go… I… uhm… I need you. I just hope you have more plans tattooed to your body. Maybe one that leads us outta here?”

He closed his eyes. She had said ‘us’. A smile lit up his face, and he could feel a big weight falling from his heart. ‘Us’. He liked the sound of it.

He enjoyed every second of hearing her voice, concentrating on her timbre to memorize it forever.

“Well.. to be true you have quite a way to go… and I can hardly wait to see you face to face so that I can… can explain some things to you… but… ok… now listen…”

And with effort he shoved his feelings for her aside to transfer the dates of their meeting point to her.

Finally she gave him her mobile phone number and he told her the number of Linc’s mobile – and after reading a quickly written message from Kat the number of her mobile as well.

“Sara?”

“Yes, Michael?”

He closed his eyes again and wished he could reach out to her, touch her, smell her, hold her… and than, with his deep voice showing a full kaleidoscope of feelings: “I love you so much, Sara… just… be careful, ok? Take care…”

With tears brimming over, all she could manage was a quite “uh-huh” – and then the line went dead. Michael had gone – again…
End Notes:
Soooo... ;)
This was a long one, I know... but I needed those phone calls to connect some things, I hope it's not to confusing... and finally we had some MiSa-contact... :)

Please, take a heart, let me know what you think of my story!

Thanks... *hugs all readers* :)
Chapter 15 - Lifelines by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
Please enjoy! :)

.
.
There are Lifelines and Lifelines…
...what kind of Lifeline would you choose?

Your own?
…chaotic…
…beautiful…
…interwoven…
…pulsating…
…full of live…

A foreign?
…isolated…
…broken…
…violated…
…cut through…
…intermingled…
…stained…

Or would you choose a lifeline to throw it to someone who is in need?
…guidance…
…help…
…friendship…
…tolerance…
…rescue…
…love…
…trust…


…Lifelines…
Which one would you choose?



**********
Lifelines
**********

After closing his cell phone Linc looked up at the relieved faces of C-Note and Sucré.

A big smile lit his face and he shook his head – he still had difficulties in believing his luck…

First Aldo had called – LJ was safe! And now Michael. However he had done it, he had escaped T-Bag and was ok.

“Yo man, what’s up? What happened to Snowflake?” C-Note asked and a happily smiling Sucré breathed a quick thanks in spanish to his god and crossed himself.

Lincoln shook his head and smiled at them.

“I’m not sure, he didn’t talk about what happened – he only said that he got away and that he has found help. I’m going to meet up with him tomorrow evening.”

C-Note shot an incredulous glance at Linc and smirked “There’s really more to that son of a bitch than I had ever thought… slippery and flexible like a fish… “

“Hey – don’t you remember? Michael had always a plan in a plan in a plan… How often did we get a setback in Fox River and it looked worse from day to day – but Michael found a way… If anyone can do it, Papi can, I’m sure!” Sucrè laughed.

The three men were silent for a minute, each lost in thoughts of their days back in Fox River.

Shaking himself of his memories C-Note stated,

“It’s time for me to say goodbye. I will leave tomorrow, I need to go back to my family.”

Lincoln and Sucré looked up at C-Note, both with mixed feelings.

“Uhm… yeah Sink… I’ll also leave tomorrow… I had a talk with my cousin Petey – and you will never believe me… Maricruz is not married – she rejected Hector! So I will… I will drive to Ixtapa… hopefully I can find her…” Sucrè beamed at them.

Linc looked with a half-smile from one to the other, and shook his head slightly.

It would feel strange to go separate ways.

He stood up with a sigh and looked them in the eyes.

“I see why both of you will leave and I wish you all the luck in the world … but don’t forget – they are still hunting us out there. And I don’t want to hear that your sorry asses are back in jail blue’s…” he smiled slightly at them. “I won't be able to visit you and Mikey would probably start to plan on hauling you out, so…” his voice died and they stared at each other in awkward silence.

Finally Sucré broke it full of high spirit,

“Na, Papi… we've come this far, we can do it, all we need is to have some faith…” and winked at him.

Linc exhaled loudly and smiled at them,

“I hope so… I'll just call Aldo to let him know that Michael is safe – and then we should try to catch some sleep – it will be an early morning for all of us, I think…”

They agreed and called it a night.

After talking again with Aldo and re-arranging their meeting Linc lay down on his small cot, closed his eyes and wondered when in the last 24 hours he had started to see C-Note and Sucré as friends. It must have to do something with the injured kid…

Suddenly he realised that he had to leave Tweener behind in the custody of Padre Emilio. And that girl. Debra Jean.

With a slight smile he remembered her appearance a few hours ago.


*********************
*** Flashback Lincoln ***

Linc was still outside sitting on the bonnet of his car, deeply lost in his thoughts.

LJ was safe… he could not be thankful enough for that.

He was planning what to do tomorrow – he would meet up with his father and his son in Durango, Colorado, about 450 miles away… he would have to drive early, he wanted to have his son back, he wanted to see with his own eyes that the kid was safe and sound…

…unlike his brother.

Linc could feel tears running down his face. What would he do if something had happened to his baby brother? What if… he couldn’t even think of what T-Bag might be doing with him, maybe in this very moment…

Wiping angrily at his cheeks he stared for several minutes into the upcoming dark without seeing.

Then he realized it had got completely dark now – his glance had been drawn to the stars above, sprinkling the black sky brightly like he had never seen it before. He wondered if one of the stars stood for his mother… and one for Vee… and what Michael would see in them. For sure he would see behind the known constellations and discover new patterns in the star peppered infinity above.

Drawing in a deep, trembling breath he became aware of car-lights nearing the church.

Immediately he was alert and jumped from the bonnet, retiring with smooth movements back in the darker shadows beside the entrance of the little house.

He watched a little silver Toyota come to stop beside his car.

The door opened and the passenger compartment illumination revealed the driver – a young, slender girl with short, dark, spikey hair.

Linc could tell that she was struggling with herself, she buried her face in her hands and wiped her eyes.

Then she took a deep breath, nodded determinedly at her image in the mirror, gathered all her courage and stepped out of the car.



***********

Lincoln had seen enough – that must be Debra Jean.

He left the shadows and waited for her to turn around.

As she did so she flinched back, totally starteled of the dark bulky shadow below the door light.

“Are you Debra Jean?” Linc asked calmly with his deep voice.

She stared wide eyed at him and gulped nervously.

“Ahm… yes… I… I’m here… Padre Emilio called me… he…” she stammered helplessly and became silent, wringing her slender hands in a nervous manner.

Lincoln nodded and opened the door.

“Come in, girl… I will bring you to Padre Emilio. Hopefully he has good news about Tweener for us…”

Debra Jean hesitated shortly, but than she nodded again and neared the door. She had never been that frightened before and felt her heart beat so fast that she feared it must be heard all over the place.

She felt so light-headed and stupid now – what on earth had she been thinking? Leaving a wrong message for her father, driving alone in the dark to a church after receiving a call from a Padre she only knew from some church events like BINGO! from her childhood? Driving to a man she had fallen for head over heals? To a man who was a convict on the run?

Wasn’t it terrible enough that she felt heart-broken and foolish for falling for Scott – no! David! His name was David! - since she had found out his secret? And that she was utterly in panic after realising that she had slept with him without using protection?

Her cheecks burned with embarrassment.

Since yesterday her head was whirring with thousand and thousand of thoughts, never coming to a conclusion, never coming to rest.

How was it possible that she, Debra Jean, the always good hearted, the always hard working, the always sober girl, the “agony aunt” for her hot-blooded and bee-like friends, the girl who has never had a boyfriend and who always was believing devoutly in “no sex before marriage” – that this girl who had always been too shy for letting a male close to her had fallen so badly in only a few hours to a complete stranger, that she had been the one who had propelled forward? Who had shared a room with a boy, who had bought alcohol, who had almost begged for being taken?

“Are you coming in or not?” the stranger asked her with visible impatience.

Taking in a trembling breathe she quickly passed the big, broad-chested man and entered the house.



***********

It was old, crammed and worn down – but nevertheless she felt more confident in the warm light of the lamps. At least until she realized that the man who had invited her into the house was the infamous Lincoln Burrows, the murderer of President Reynolds brother Terrence Steadman!

Her chin dropped at her chest and she stared at him with pure panic – and Linc was reminded of a little mouse in front of a cat. He felt very uncomfortable under her scared stare.

“Hey… cool down, girl… Let’s search for Padre Emilio…” he rumbeled to cover his embarrassment and knocked on the door to her left.

“Come in!” was heard and Linc opened the door.

He waved for the girl to enter and timidly she scurried into the den.

Sighing deeply Linc followed her and registered with surprise that the two doctor’s were with the Padre, talking seriously to him, their faces strained with fatigue.

“Debra Jean – how nice that you made it!” Padre Emilio stood up, circled his desk and took Debra Jean’s pale hands in his big, brown ones and smiled warmly at her.

Licking her lips nervously Debra Jean glanced around in the room, noticing Linc only a step away and the two other persons, an old Mexican and a younger woman, both clad in lab coats and with tired, sad feature’s…

Gulping audibly she flashed an insecure smile at the Padre and said “Where is he? Is… is Sco… is David ok?” and her eyes darted between the doctor’s, the Padre and Lincoln to and fro.

Padre Emilio rubbed with his right hand over his jaw, and his left played with his wooden rosary.

“Debra Jean, I want to introduce you to Manolo and Sonia. Both are very good doctor’s and they have been in surgery with your friend for the last hours.”

Her eyes grew even bigger and her bottom lip trembeled slightly as she bravely shook the hands of the doctor’s.

Clearing her throat she asked again “Is David ok? Where is he?”

She felt near to tears now and finally the dark haired woman spoke with strong dialect,

“At the moment he’s stable, but his injuries are serious. He has lost a lot of blood and one of his lungs had been punctured.”

Her dark eyes moved to the old man on her side and he nodded reassuringly.

She sighed tiredly,

“If he survives the night I’m sure he will recover. But it will take time… And… as for his other injuries – if he lives they will heal, we have corrected his nose and have stitched up his… uhm… more intimate injuries. But Padre, I think the young man will need the help of someone to get over it. These injuries are suggesting sexual abuse and not for the first time. There were older injuries, almost healed and some fresh ones… He must had been through hell…”

Debra Jean’s and Linc’s faces showed expressions of sheer horror, but Padre Emilio nodded only sadly. He had faced so many forms of abuse and human brutality in his years as a preacher and aider of refugee’s – those things were nothing new to him.

Covering her mouth with a trembling hand Debra Jean felt tears pool in her eyes.

“C-can I see him?” she asked in a little voice, and Sonia nodded.

“Yeah, come with me…”



************

Linc followed them. He needed to know how Tweener was doing.

The Mexican woman carefully opened the door to Tweener’s room and winked the girl in.

Peeking around the corner Linc inhaled sharply.

Debra Jean’s lean body was shaking, she stared stunned at the young man who had been so full of life and warmth just two days before, who had made her heart flutter and had taken her breath away.

The tears which had threatened to fall before were now running freely down her soft cheeks.

Tweener lay at the small cot only clad in his boxers. His chest was covered in thick, white dressings, his face was partially covered with white plaster, his nostrils blocked with cotton and the parts of his face free of the white were swollen and coloured in angry red, purple and black, especially around his closed eyes.

His abdomen and his legs were sprinkled with a multiplicity of little cuts and bruises.

“Oh my god… what happened to him? He… yesterday… he was ok yesterday morning… what…” but the rest of Debra Jeans question was stifled in soft cries.

The doctor only shrugged her shoulders and left tiredly the room.

Linc stood awkwardly at the threshold until he couldn’t bear it any longer, he closed the distance and pulled the young woman in a bear hug.

And Debra Jean was so caught up in her mourning that she didn’t realize that it was the big and scary murderer who was comforting her.

As her sobbing subdued and faded into a slight hiccup she wiped her wet face and said

“Sorry for c-crying – now your shirt is wet ” and sniffed, rubbing her eyes.

Linc laughed warmly,

“No problem.”

Hearing his deep voice she glanced upwards and he could see the change in her grey eyes and face – her breath caught and she shied away in direction of the cot.

Gritting his teeth Lincoln tried to stay calm. He felt somehow offended, angry and sad at the same time.




************

At this moment the doctor returned accompanied by Padre Emilio,

“He’s still sedated and should sleep for the next hours. Probably he will wake in the early morning. We need somebody to stay with him – I’m leaving now, my shift starts in an hour…”

Linc stared curiously at her – she looked like she could fall asleep whilst standing in front of them. And she wanted to go to work now? He could feel gratitude rise for her and her selfless help.

“Manolo will stay, but he has fallen asleep in the living room and I don’t want to wake him now.”

She turned to Debra Jean,

“Listen – take the cot next to him. If his breathing pattern changes or if he cramps you have to call Manolo. But hopefully he will sleep deeply until morning. We have to wait and see… but don’t leave him alone.”

Padre Emilio talked first,

“Thanks Sonia, I’m sure our Lord will have an eye on him. Try to find some rest in between and hopefully we will not need to call you again and Manolo can handle it alone. Thanks for everything.”

Sonia flashed a tired smile at him and patted slightly the shoulder of the shocked girl.

Then she glanced over to Lincoln, who smiled reluctantly and thanked her, too.

And seconds later she left the room.



******************

Lincoln turned to Tweener and got closer. He looked into the swollen face of the kid and sighed deeply.

“I hope you will recover, kiddo” he murmured sadly.

“With the help of god he will! We must have faith, and I will pray for him.” Padre Emilio said confidently.

Linc did his best to bite back a sarcastic comment.

Out of the corner of his eye he saw a movement and could see Debra Jean taking a seat beside Tweener.

She only had eyes for the boy and softly she took his lifeless, clammy hand in her own, stroking it tenderly with her thumbs.

“Hey… David… it’s me – Debra Jean. I’m – uhm… I’m here to take care of you – do you hear me?”

They could see her lean in and place a soft kiss on Tweener’s forehead – almost the only dressing-free place in his poor face.

Padre Emilio smiled at Lincoln and took his arm, leading him out of the room and giving Debra Jean some privacy.



****************

Lincoln sighed deeply in thought,

“So… when will you leave?” Padre Emilio asked.

Linc rubbed his shorn head. “Early.” He replied.

The Padre nodded.

“Padre Emilio? You will take care of him, won’t you?” Linc asked hoarsly.

Looking him dead in the eyes the padre patted his shoulders.

“Of course, Mr. Burrows. I will see that the young man will become healthy again and he will get a new identity, like discussed. I will not let him down, and if he allows it I will try to lead him on to find his way back at the right path.”

Lincoln could only see honesty, warmth and concern in the eyes of the elder man.

Finaly he sighed and smiled wearily.

“Thank you, Padre. For everything.”

Padre Emilio smiled back “Don’t thank me, thank god…”


*** End of Flashback Lincoln ***
***************************





Linc woke early next morning after only 4 hours of sleep – but for the first time in a long he had slept deep and well.

He showered and shaved meticulously, satisfied with his fancy beard which he had let grow since his escape. His hair was growing back too and he liked the spiky feeling beneath his fingers.

Casually dressed in blue Jeans and a white, half-buttoned shirt which showed his broad, tanned chest he left the still sleeping men and turned to Tweener's room – he needed to know if the boy was better.

Gently opening the door he peered inside and smiled at the image before him - Debra Jean had moved the other cot so that she was able to lay beside Tweener.

With bated breath he neared them – the scene was somehow heart touching.

The girl lay curled up and nestled by Tweener, her head resting on her right hand, her left hand splayed across his chest, directly over his heart, her face turned in his direction.

Her mouth was slightly opened and he could hear her deep and steady breaths.

Tweener had slightly turned towards Debra Jean, an astonished but happy expression on his battered face and his right hand covered hers.

Lincoln exhaled in relief – Tweener was awake! He smiled at him and met the boy’s slightly fogged gaze.

“Hey… how are you, buddy?” he asked softly.

Croaky and with effort Tweener whispered “Fine… I think… it hurts like hell… What happened? And how…” his voice trailed off and he looked down at Debra Jean, his eyes shining with emotion.

Before Lincoln could answer he felt another person entering the room – Padre Emilio already capped and gowned for Mass stepped in, a wide smile in his face.

“Good morning – I see our guest is awake! Thanks to god that you feel better, son.”

He turned to Lincoln,

“Mr. Burrows, Maria has prepared a big breakfast table for you and your friends in the kitchen and for later she will make lunch packs for you all. I will have a Mass in about 30 minutes and I would suggest that you all will stay hidden in the house until all my church members have left. Manolo is already awake, he’s eating now and after that he will check up on our friend.”

Lincoln nodded. “Thank you… breakfast is really appreciated” and as if to prove how much, his stomach growled loudly.

Padre Emilio chuckled slightly,

“I see… David, I will come later and explain you everything. For now I will leave you in the care of Debra Jean, Mr. Burrows and Manolo. I’m happy that you feel better and I will thank god for this little miracle.”

He crossed himself and left the room with an emanating smile.



*****************

Lincoln grabbed a chair, turned it so that his arms could rest on the chair-back, lowered his chin on his folded arms and told Tweener with a low voice all that had happened since his black out the day before.

During his report Debra Jean started to stir and Lincoln noticed that Tweener caressed her hand tenderly with his thumb.

Only moments later the girl opened her big grey eyes and looked at Tweener, shifting quickly into a sitting position.

He smiled sorely at her and whispered softly “Aloha, girl…”

“Oh my god… you’re awake! How… how do you feel? I…” and tears started to stream down her face whilst a shaking hand moved caringly at the side of his face.

Not really able to move, Tweener patted her left hand helplessly and said with his broken voice,

“C’mon girl… don’t ya cry. I’m fine… I think.”

His grey eyes left her face and meet the concerned stare of Lincoln,

“Thanks man… you could have let me die out there. But you didn’t. I hope you will find Michael… please… thank him too… if he hadn’t… if he… T-Bag…” and he drew a big breath, his eyes dark with fear and loathing.

Debra Jean’s eyes darted between David and Linc to and fro. She wanted badly to know what happened to David, but she could see that he seemed to trust that big man and that he actually thanked him for saving his life.

“No problem, kiddo. But I didn’t do it alone – Sucré had the idea with the church and he organised all of this, and C-Note was helping, too.

Listen… we have to leave. I’ll go and fetch Michael – he has called, he has managed to get away from T-Bag and is fine… and the others are leaving too.

The Padre and your pretty girl here will take care of you.

We will leave money for Padre Emilio, he will organize an Alias and a new background for you. And we will leave some money for you to build up a future, but the Padre will hold it on trust for you.

Buddy – please. Take this as the chance of a new beginning, with a clean record. You can start fresh and without all the wrongs you did in your past.

Use this chance. Use it wisely.

Padre Emilio will help you.

I’m sure you’ll make it. I’ll stay in contact with the padre, you will hear from me.”

And with that Linc stood up, leant over and patted Tweeners shoulder.

Turning to Debra Jean he looked her square in the eyes and offered his hand.

After only a few seconds she bit her lower lip and took his hand.

Smiling widely Linc said,

“It was a pleasure to meet you, Debra Jean. Please take care of him. He’s a good guy beneath his ‘Gangsta’-attitudes, and I’m sure with a smart girl like you on his side he will find his way.”

And with that he left the room and returned to Sucré and C-Note.




*************

(((Artist: Brooke Fraser – Song: Lifeline)))

They stared silently at the now closed door.

Debra Jean felt suddenly very uncertain and her lean fingers picked nervously at the hem of her pink shirt.


*** I have this sinking feeling - Something's weighing me down***
*** I am completely saturated - The waves are crashing closer ***



She heard the laboured breaths beside her and could feel David’s glance on her.


*** My feet already drowned - Doing the thing I said I hated ***


Licking at her lips she cleared her throat and was in about to get off the cot as she heard David say “Hey girl… you’re a’ight?”


*** They've been swimming in the wrong waters ***
*** Now they're pulling me down ***



Biting her bottom lip and blushing slightly she turned to him, a soft smile playing at her mouth.

She nodded “Yeah… think so… and you?”


*** But I am clinging to you, never letting go ***
*** 'Cos I know that you'll lift me out ***



“…never been better!” he joked, smiled wryly at her and patted wearily with his left hand at the free space at his side.

“C’mon here…”


*** Have your way here ***
*** Keep me afloat 'cos I know I'll sink without you ***
*** Take this ocean of pain that is mine ***
*** Throw me a lifeline ***



She hesitated shortly but then she crawled at his side, carefully avoiding his many injuries and cuddled at his side, her head resting on his left arm.


*** I wake up feeling convicted - I know something's not right ***
*** Re-acquaint my knees with the carpet - I have to get this out ***



Taking a deep breath she finally found enough courage to ask him the question which burned in her heart since Padre Emilio had called her.

“David… what happened? Who did this to you?”


*** 'Cos it's obstructing you and I - Dry up the seas that keep us parted ***

Tears shone in her grey eyes as she watched Tweener closely, and first he averted his eyes, but then she could feel him taking a deep breath and his troubled and sad looking dark grey eyes finally locked with hers.


*** 'Cos they've been swimming in the wrong waters ***
*** And now they're pulling me down ***



“Well… ‘hope you have some time for me, girl… ‘cause I’m tellin’ y’all… If y’wanna really know… I… uhm… I mean… I owe ‘t to you… for not tellin’ the truth when I met ya…”

He gulped audibly, averting his eyes again, staring at a wooden cross hanging on the wall. And then… hesitating… sheepishly... his eyes moved back to her, pleading with her.

His expression was so vulnerable and open that her heart went out to him.


*** But I am clinging to you, never letting go ***
*** 'Cos I know that you are gonna pull me out ***



Debra Jeans face lit up and bestowed him with a warm, heartening smile which made his heart jump.

“Hey… I’m here…”


*** Take this ocean of pain that is mine ***
*** Throw me a lifeline ***



She touched his right hand with her left and pushed it reassuringly and was rewarded with a relieved smile, she could feel him relax and his dark, troubled eyes seemed to soften a little.

Taking her small hand softly in his he started the story of his life with his raspy voice, caressing her smooth chin slightly with his thumb “A’ight… it started with those damn Baseballcards from…”


*** Take this ocean of pain that is mine ***
*** Throw me a lifeline ***






************************************

Lincoln had met up with C-Note and Sucré. Both were awake now and could hardly wait for the Mass to be over – they wanted to go for their families and Lincoln couldn’t blame them for that. Hell – he wanted to flounce out and run to his brother and son too!

They sat in the kitchen and the Mexican girl – Maria – had left dishes full with food for them – pancakes, sandwiches, fresh vegetable, bread, cheese and sausages and a lot of black and steaming hot coffee.

Ravenously they did the deliciously food justice and Linc told them about Tweener – all felt very relieved that the kid seemed to be out of danger.

“That Belle-girl really is a cutie – all big eyes, cute freckles and a sweet mouth.” He told them.

“No wonder that he wanted to see her again, papi. I wonder where he met her?” Sucré asked around a mouthful of pancake.

“I have no idea. But – I think it’s good that she’s here now. I hope that with the help of Debra Jean and Padre Emilio the kid will stay out of trouble…”

C-Note laughed and answered “Yeah man – that would be good for him… we won't be around to get’ em out of it…”

That reminded them of their imminent departure and all fell silent again.






************************************

Finally no one could eat one bit more and exactly in this moment Maria returned and smiled shyly at them and at the almost empty dishes.

They thanked her for the food which made her blush deeply; smiling happily at them she gathered the leftovers, started packing Lunchpacks and shooed them out of ‘her’ kitchen.

Smiling and satisfied they returned to their room and discussed one last time how much money they would leave for Padre Emilio and Tweener.

They pooled the agreed sum of $ 150,000 together for Padre Emilio and without hesitation they added again $ 150,000 – that should be the starting sum for Tweener.

Then they packed their things and talked quietly about their hopes and fears for the future and about some issues of Fox River and their escape, each of them waiting impatiently for the Padre to show up and release them into their unsure future.

Linc would take C-Note to a car dealer and then he would go to fetch Michael before they would join Aldo, LJ and the AC.

Sucré’s way would lead him to Ixtapa, Mexico. He hoped that he could find Maricruz. That was all. Finding her. Talk to her. And what then?

He had an aunt in Mexico and he hoped that they could live with her… he had no idea what he would do if Maricruz said ‘no’ to him, or if he couldn’t find her.

He prayed silently to his god to help him… he had faith… he had to…

And C-Note would return to Chicago. He knew for sure that the authorities had eavesdropped on his talk with Kacee – but they had no way of finding out where he really would meet up with his wife and daughter.

He smirked slightly. He had some aces up his sleeves… his brother-in-law and some of his old friends owed him some favours – and he would call in the favours now.






************************************

A slight knock on the door flushed them out.

The door opened and Padre Emilio peeked in, balancing big Lunch-Packs in his hands.

“You ordered Takeaways?” he smiled and entered the room, handing each of the threesome one of the bags.

Linc spoke up,

“Thanks so much for all of your help, Padre. The kid seems fine, and I’m really thankful for that and that you will take care of him.”

Padre Emilio waved his words aside,

“No problem, Mr. Burrows. It’s my duty and my joy to help where I can. David seems to be a nice young man, he had a wrong start… Sadly our society is not forgiving of little mistakes… but if he is willing I will help him to make a new start.”

The relief was evident in the faces of the three hunted men and Padre Emilio thought inwardly how kind-hearted these three hard-faced cons truly were, despite of the image the authorities and media was painting of them. He hoped from the bottom of his heart that they would be able to sort their problems and could stay out of the line of their hunters.

“Uhm, Padre, here is the agreed sum for your help and for Tweener’s new identity.” Linc handed a thick bundle of money to the Padre who smiled and took it without counting it.

He believed in his ability to read people – and he was convinced that the bundle would hold the agreed sum.

“Thank you, Mr. Burrows… Mr. Sucré… Mr. Franklin…” He smiled at each of them and looked them deeply in their eyes, into the windows to their souls. And each pair of eyes was full of concern and thankfulness, of worry and honesty.

“There is… more, Padre Emilio. We have some money for Tweener, but I would ask you to hold it on trust for him. Do you think you…”

His smile widened and he thanked his god for this proof of the good within humanity.

“Yes, of course. I feel honoured that you will set your trust in me and my god to guide your young friend.”

Then he walked them to the front door.

“Mass is over, the coast is clear now. I wish you all luck and will pray to god that you will all find freedom and peace.”

Each of them spoke shortly with Padre Emilio and thanked him for his help…

A last handshake, then the friends turned to each other.

Glancing silently into the faces of the others. More handshakes, some pats on the back. Wishes of good luck and the exchange of mobile phone numbers.

Than Sucré mounted his bike and drove off and only seconds later Linc and C-Note followed with the car, the waving Padre and his church constantly decreasing in the rear mirror.

Linc drew a big breath.

Finally he was on his way to his family…
End Notes:
Thanks for reading... just tell me what you think so far!
Pretty please! ;)
Chapter 16 - Live or die by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
...be careful, dear reader - it's a long one... ;)

.
*************
Live or die
*************

He stood motionless in the shadows and watched the Hotel closely.

It was deep in the night - midnight had just passed and it was dark and quiet – just like he wanted it.

He had arrived a few minutes before – and had not moved since then.

The sound of a ringing phone and the muffled voice of the hotel employee reached his ears whilst his eyes surveyed the area.

There were not many cars in the parking lot, his own black BMW X6, rented from a local car place, two other cars with licence plates identifying them as cars of residents – and the blue Honda at his side.

It was a rented car like his own, the sticker on its rear window told him it came from “Duck’s car’s” in Los Lunas, NM.

Latest information had been that they had been spotted at a fuel station in Albuquerque. The clerk said she recognized the smaller one of the wanted women and that she ripped off the Wanted-Poster before jumping in her car and driving off.

So now they knew they were being hunted.

Their former car – a grey Sedan, rented back in Chicago – had been found abandoned in wasteland only a 30 minute drive from the fuel station.

His glance swept quickly over the dusty blue car at his side, it was without doubt the car of the ladies.

And – as if all those clues were not evidence enough – he suddenly could hear the creaking of a door on its hinges and was rewarded with the sight of Nikki leaving their room and strolling down the porch to the ice-machine.

His breath hitched at the sight of her perfect body, casually clad in jeans and a short, tight-fitting top, caressing her firm breasts and revealing the soft flesh of her flat belly and small of her back as she moved, the swing of her hips and the bouncing of her locks made him swallow hard.

Intoxicated at the sight of her he almost moved to make contact – as he caught something out of the corner of his eye.

Turning his head very slowly and narrowing his eyes he could see – nothing.

The two cars of the residents – probably employees of the hotel – stood in the cool of the night like before, but one branch of the big bush behind vibrated slightly and then stopped.

Scowling at the now motionless bush he felt all of his senses on alert.

There was nothing to see - but he was sure that there had been someone, watching the scene like he did. He was sure he and Nikki were no longer alone in the dark.

And that could only mean that Mahone had arrived.

Fuck.

He squeezed his eyes shut for a moment. Fuck.

He had not been quick enough.

Nikki and Sara were in high danger now – and they didn’t even know it.

His glance scurried back to Nikki, the rappling sound of ice falling in a bucket filled the air.

She tucked a curl of her hair behind her ear and made her way back to the door of their room which stood slightly ajar. The soft ‘tap-tap’ of her feet led him to the conclusion that she was walking with bare feet, totally relaxed and unaware of the menace outside.

Than again he could hear the ringing of a phone – louder now.

Frowning slightly Paul watched Nikki’s movement gaining speed and as she opened the door to their room he caught a glimpse of a slender redhead – clad only in a tight black top and panties, all curves, soft, creamy white flesh and long legs – moving quickly to the ringing phone and taking the receiver before Nikki’s tiny form filled the image completely and then the door shut him out.

Fuck!

What was happening in there?

And where was Mahone?

What should he do now?

He could feel little beads of sweat running down his face and soaking his black, long sleeved shirt.

Fighting the uprising panic and trying desperately to gain control over his feelings and the situation he ducked slowly deeper in the shadows and reached for his weapon, racking his brain to quickly find a solution...



***************************

Sara had just taken a shower and had slipped on only a black top and her panties as she heard Nikki knock on the closed bathroom-door “Hey Sar, I’m just going out, I need some ice for my coke…”

“Ok!”

Combing her damp, red hair Sara hummed the melody of the song which reminded her of Michael; it was in her mind since she had heard it the night before.

Then she could hear the phone ring – and was for a second totally petrified.

Droping the comb she ripped the door open and with two fluent steps she reached the phone and grabbed the receiver just as Nikki re-entered the room and closed the door.

Exchanging a nervous look with her friend she answered the phone using her Alias which she had chosen as they booked the room.

“Fox?” Sara was biting her lower lip, anxiously and hopefully at the same time waiting for an answer.

Then she heard a deep sigh of relief and a softly breathed “Sara…” – and had to sit down because her legs turned to jelly as a wave of relief and longing rushed over her.

“Oh my god… Michael – is it really you?” she asked with a shaking voice, closing her eyes and leaning her head back on the bedframe, suddenly feeling totally exhausted and on the verge of tears again.

“Sara… are you ok? I’m so glad that you have found your way to Gila, I feared… I… There’s so much I have to tell you, so much I need to explain. I…”

It was so good to hear his voice and a part of her wished she could just sit there and let his smooth deep voice take away all her fears and pain, she could feel the usual effect of his voice washing over her, her whole body tingled and ached for him to touch her… but… not now! He needed to know… he…

Taking a deep breath she interrupted him,

“Where are you, Michael? I have to tell you so much, too… I’m wanted now, you know? I’m on the run like you, and I don’t know where to go… I… uhm… I need you. I just hope you have more plans tattooed to your body. Maybe one that leads us outta here?”

Her eyes darted to Nikki who was sitting at the edge of her bed watching Sara closely with her pale blue eyes, gnawing nervously on her bottom lip, the bucket with the already melting ice totally forgotten beside her.

“Well.. to be true you have quite a way to go… and I can hardly wait to see you face to face so that I can… can explain some things to you… but… ok… now listen…”

She could hear him smiling, she had the feeling he told her unspoken things between his words and that made her smile too… The longing for him increased with every second and she simply could not understand how this man could have such a strong effect on her… and how she could feel so jubilant and so sick at the same time?

“I’m in a little village in Utah at the moment… you will have to drive to…” quickly she grabbed a little pad and a pencil from the nightstand and noted down the details.

Then they exchanged their mobile numbers, or better said she gave him her’s and he gave her Linc’s – and after a second he added another phone number, the number of a friend… Kat.

She frowned slightly – why didn’t he have a mobile with him? And who was this Kat?

Sensing something was not quite right she paid more attention at his voice and could filter out hints of… stress and exhaustion?

No wonder – he had been on the run for days and the months in prison before his escape must have been hell for him.

Or was it pain?

“Sara?”

His voice brought her back from her meandering thoughts and she smiled slightly.

“Yes, Michael?”

His next words hit her directly in her core.

Sounding husky with love and need and longing, brimful with emotion he whispered,

“I love you so much, Sara… just… be careful, ok? Take care…”

That was too much.

Tears now flowing freely, her heart up so high, filling her completely and leaving her unable to speak Sara was just able to manage a choked “uh-huh” – and then the line went dead. Michael had gone – again…

She closed her eyes, the receiver clutched tight to her heart and sobbed.





****************************

Nikki was totally taken aback – then she jumped up, knocking the bucket of ice over in progress and closed the distance to her friend, taking her in her arms, holding her close, rocking her softly back and forth.

“Sar… what happened… why…”

But Nikki was interrupted by a bubbling laughter from Sara, intercut with a slight hiccup.

She pulled away and eyed her friend suspiciously, who tossed the flood of auburn locks behind and smiled happily at her with still flowing tears.

“He…” hiccups “He loves me… he said he loves me…” and her bright smile lit her face and her eyes – she looked so beautiful und sparkling at that moment that she literally took Nikki’s breath away.

Nikki stood with her hands at her hips, laughed softly and shook her head at her friend.

“So why on earth did you give an old lady a heart attack by bursting into tears, Tancredi?”

Laughing even harder at her flustered looking friend Sara smiled at her with puppydog eyes and a mischievous expression “Sorry Tyler – never meant to…”

Sitting back down on her bed Nikki squealed and jumped up again – the bottom of her jeans soaked wet with icecold water.

“Oh bollocks – I have spilled the ice – and now my whole bed is dripping wet… not to mention my jeans!” she sighed.

Giggling almost hysterically Sara left her bed and bent down to embrace Nikki.

And only seconds later both of them laughed and enjoyed the feeling of freedom and relief which filled them.

Shaking her head over the mess Nikki started to unzip her jeans whilst Sara slipped into hers and grabbed the keys for the car.

Frowning slightly Nikki asked “What are you up to?” and Sara – already on her way to the door called back “I’ll go and get the GPS from the car, I’m wide awake now and I want to know how far it is… I hardly can’t wait for us to drive to him…”

She sighed blissfully and her smile was infectious, than she turned and left the room on her bare feet like Nikki before, closing the door behind.

Nikki slipped out of her wet jeans and panties and as she rummaged through her bag for fresh and dry underwear, her fingers graced her iPod. Grinning she took it and placed the headset and started one of her favourite songs – ‘I don’t feel like dancing’ by the Scissor Sisters – dancing and humming whilst pulling the fresh panties up her lean legs. She felt carefree and content for the first time since all of this mess had started.

Scofield had found them and they would meet up with him. Hopefully he had another plan up his sleeves… but Sara was happy, and that was worth it...

Eying the wet spot on the wooden floor and the soaking wet bed she sighed shortly, shrugged good-humoredly and danced her way into the bathroom, grabbed some towels and started to wipe up the icecold water…

*** So I play along when I hear that special song***
***I’m gonna be the one who gets it right***
***You better know when you’re swinging round the room***
***Look’s like the magic’s solely yours tonight***

***But I don’t feel like dancing***



..
.



****************************

Still quietly giggling Sara left the hotel room and closed the door behind her.

She stepped to the balustrade and drew in a deep breath – the dark sky was full of twinkling stars and the full moon was just rising. A cold and steady breeze was blowing and Sara shivered slightly, rubbing her hands over her bare arms.

She felt lighthearted and had to fight the sudden mood to dance and sing. That must be a first in years …

Michael… tomorrow evening she would be with him. See him again. Talk to him. Maybe… touch him.

Even the thought made her body tingle in all the right places and goosebumps spread all over.

No boundaries… no watchful eyes… no cold infirmary … no fence… no taboo. Just… her and Michael… and hopefully some… privacy…

Blushing slightly and with a wicked grin on her face she loped down the porch and descended the stairs to the parking lot.

Sara was so lost in her thoughts that she didn’t notice how dark it was down there, how deep the shadows of the surrounding building were cast on the concrete.

Arms slung around herself and shivering slightly in the breeze she reached the trunk of their car and circled it to open the driver’s door.

She inserted the key into the lock and turned it, than she reached for the handle to open the door as she suddenly struck by the feeling that she no longer was alone out here…





****************************

All the tiny hairs on her neck and arms stood on end and her happy feeling disappeared into nothingness, leaving her hollow and with a rising panic.

Licking her suddenly dry lips she slowly turned her head, feeling as if she was in a nightmare when everything slows down. The middle of her vision was clear, the edges blurred and out of focus.

Finally she finished the movement and looked back in the direction of the hotel, but she couldn’t see it, her eyes took instead in the lean frame of a stranger, his blue eyes fixed coldly on her, his face showing a cross between triumph and regret.

Her heart refused to work, it skipped some beats and the seconds seemed to stretch forever, her brain struggling with the loss of blood and oxygen, with the mingled and conflicting impressions of being stuck in a nightmare whilst knowing that she was awake, her sense of hearing somehow warped and drawn…

Her body finally followed the movement of her head, turning in his direction, her mouth falling slightly open, her hands raising slowly, oh so slowly in a placatory gesture – and then she realized from the corner of her eye a little movement of his hands, at the height of his hips.

Sara’s amber eyes dropped slowly, unwillingly, down to his hands, and grew big, filled with horror at the sight of the cold, black metal glimmering impersonally and lifeless in the dark - a gun with a silencer, casually pointed at her and waving into the direction of the dark bushes behind.

A stifled whimper escaped her lips – and that seemed to break the spell the stranger had cast over her… With a rush, reality flooded back to her, her heart jumped painfully in her breast, the heartbeat loud and strong in her ears, deafening her, hurting her, making her dizzy.

“Hello Ms. Tancredi… Move!” his voice barely a whisper rung loud in her ears.

Feeling numb and terrified to her very soul she turned awkwardly and stumbled into the darkness, the armed stranger hot on her heels…





****************************

Paul had somehow managed to crawl back between the bushes; he had reached the hotel-complex and found a fire escape leading up the side of the seven level high building and granting access to the porches and rooms.

Crawling up on his hands and feet in attempt not to be seen from the parking lot he froze in his tracks as the door of the hotelroom opened again – and a slightly giggling Sara stepped outside, stopping shortly at the balustrade and taking in a deep breath of the cool air.

She lifted her face to the nightsky and in the silvery light of the rising moon her skin looked even more white against her hair which appeared black in the inky night.

Rubbing her naked arms she sighed silently, a happy smile graced her features and before Paul could react she turned and walked with a bounce in her steps downstairs to the parking lot.

Fuck! Could it get any more difficult than that?

What the hell was she doing? What should he do now?

Paul was stumped and felt torn.

Should he go for Nikki? But what would happen to Sara in the meantime?

Or should he go for Sara – and what if Mahone came for the rooms like he had tried just a second before?

Gnawing at his lower lip he closed for a second his seablue eyes and tried to focus on the task at hand.

Than he crawled stealthily forward and pressed his ear against the closed door.

A little smirk crept over his face – he could hear Nikki singing in there… she seemed to be ok.

But then the wind carried the unambiguous klicking sound of a released weapon and a light stifled cry to his ears.

Damn!

He turned to the balustrade and peeped carefully over it – he could see the silhouette of a man beside the Honda, shooing the smaller form of Sara through the bushes and away from the parking lot.

Only seconds later both were swallowed by the blackness of the night…





****************************

Sara struggled, falling heavily on her knees but quickly rose to her feet again, fearing the cold metal in her back.

She felt icecold, the former beautiful, cool night had turned into a nightmare.

She was stumbling through the line of bushes and planted trees, which blocked the light from the nightsky above and the sparse illumination from the parking lot behind; the gnarly twigs scratched painfully at the sensitive skin of her bare arms, the uneven and sandy ground seemed to be peppered with spiky and sharp objects, cutting deep in her shoeless feet.

Tears were streaming silently over her face and all she could think was that she now had to die. And how much she wished she would have seen Michael one more time… to make things right… to tell him how much he meant to her and that she loved him…

Had it been the same for her father? Had his last thoughts been one of love and regret, of painful longing to see a beloved face just one more time?

They left the trees and stepped over moonlit desert, full of big, scary shadows. As they walked along she could see old and broken-down cars dumped in this place. This must be the edge of a waste ground, she thought.

Then they reached an old barn, its weathered doors hanging crookedly on their hinges.

“Get in.” The stranger said with his odd lifeless voice and gestured with his gun at the shed.

Not daring to disobey she opened the doors with shaking hands.

Gulping heavily she did as she was told and cautiously felt her way into the pitch black darkness of the old barn.

He entered behind her and closed the doors – and immediately they were engulfed in complete darkness, only faint silvery spots of moonlight falling through holes in the battered ceiling. They didn’t reach the sandy floor and didn’t light the blackness surrounding her.

“Stop.”

Her panic increased and a little sob escaped her lips, her mind racing with terror and fear – what would happen now? What did he want? What could she do?

Suddenly he moved in the darkness, she could feel him near, could feel the heat his body was emanating, could feel him reach out. Staring wide eyed and unseeing in the inky murk she inched backwards but there was no way out, she stumbled over an unknown obstacle and slumped with a scared cry heavily on the ground.

The sudden pain of a stinging light in her eyes made her gasp – she covered her watery eyes with her hands and tried to adjust her sight at the sudden brightness.

It took only seconds for her eyesight to adjust, and she looked around with squinted eyes.





****************************

A big dark SUV stood in the barn – and he had turned the headlights on. She was leaning against a stack of old tires and the barn looked really old, ramshackle and crowded.

She could see several sharp metallic objects lying scattered at the ground, it was a miracle that she had not stepped on one of it.

She stared at him, seeing her abductor properly for the first time.

He was about 40 years old, his sandy coloured hair longish but neatly cut. He was wearing an expensive black suit and smiled sadly at her whilst reaching with a shaking hand into his jacket and retrieving a mobile phone.

His clouded eyes looked directly in her own – only for a few seconds, then he averted his gaze and told her softly, almost sadly, “Don’t move.”

Clutching her knees up to her and embracing them she looked at him with big amber eyes, desperately searching for a way out of this.

Gathering all her courage she cleared her throat and asked quietly,

“Who are you and what do you want from me?”

He gestured her to be quiet.

Sara closed her mouth and concentrated on her breathing. She must stay calm… it was her only chance… if she would fall into panic she was sure she would not survive this little encounter.

He dialed swiftly one-handed a number and lifted the phone with his – shaking – hand at his ear, the other – non-shaking – hand with the gun pointed coldly and threatening at her heart.

Slightly frowning she took in that curious behaviour.

Then he watched her and silence filled the barn… she could hear the faint sound of the dial tone through the drumming of her heart – and then a slight clicking sound and the low murmur of a voice answering.

As the stranger spoke she released silently the breath she had unknowingly held within.

“I have her.”

Murmuring from the mobile phone - he listened intensely to the answer of his dialogue partner, his eyes never leaving her.

“Not yet.”

She watched him closely, she could see his intense blue eyes shining at her, she could see little droplets of sweat on his forehead, she could see the skin around his eyes tighten as he slowly nodded at something he heard through the line… and she could see the corners of his mouth drop slightly.

“Well, but if she know’s something?”

He exhaled slowly and his face… changed… got colder… his jaw tightened and his eyes moved back at her face, but he didn’t look into her eyes.

And she knew… she knew whatever he had heard it wasn't good for her.





****************************

She must somehow escape him. Sara glanced around and tried to permeate the surrounding darkness with her pure will. She could fathom big and bulky shadows of probably old machines and broke down cars… and more stacks of old tires and – some very dangerous looking stacks of chairs…

Maybe she could get up, run in this direction and knock over the stools, so that ---

“Yes sir. I’ll call you back in an instant.”

With a casual motion he flicked his phone shut and pushed it back in his jacket.

A deep sigh emerged from him and he tiredly rubbed his face.

“Ms. Tancredi, I have to apologize for this ugly situation you are in at the moment.”

She stared at him. Blinking in surprise. She noticed even more beads of sweat on his brow, streaming down his face, the brightness of his eyes slowly clouding again. She recorded his erratic and choppy movements.

Doctor-mode kicked in and she registered suddenly that there were dark shadows nestled below his eyes and that his eyeballs were not white, they seemed greyish and blood-shot.

With effort she tore her eyes away and spoke,

"Uhm… I… What do you want?”

Her mind was racing – he had mentioned on the phone that he thought that she maybe knew something. Michael. They would think, maybe even know, that she was meeting up with Michael!

Before she could stop herself she stammered,

“I don’t know where Michael is.”

His free – now almost violently shaking - hand moved in his pocket again and this time it came back with a black and gold ball-pen in it, circling it between his fingers.

Fascinated she watched him playing with the pen, his quick movements had something hypnotic about them.

A sardonic laugh escaped him.

“This is not about Michael, this is about your father. He left Washington with something that didn’t belong to him… and we need it back. We know that you father has contacted you several times shortly before his… surprising death.”





****************************

Again – she stared. Her chin dropped to her chest. Her mind had trouble working out where this would lead to. What the hell had her father to do with all of this?

Wasn't it about her running from bail? Or about her running towards America’s most wanted man, that she could maybe led them to him?

Does that mean that she was right, her father didn’t kill himself? He was killed? For something he had taken?

And they – whoever ‘they’ were – they were thinking that her father had passed it to her?

Suddenly she felt anger pulsating through her veins. But she knew that she had to hide it well – maybe she could use it to come free…

“Y-yes – he did. Why?”

Another sigh from the man and he started to unscrew the pen deftly with one hand – and to screw it together again… on… off… on… off… he tensed more and more with each second.

“Ms. Tancredi – what has he told you? Or did he give something to you?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He sighed… on… off… on… off… it was unnerving her.

“Ms. Tancredi – please answer me. If you don’t answer I will have to hurt you. And I really don’t want to…”

She stared into the blue eyes of her opponent and said as clear as possible,

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He stopped his twitching with the pen and stared back at her. Coldly. Opened the pen completely and shook it slightly – and two little white pills dropped in his palm.

“Then you leave me no option.”





****************************

He opened his mouth and his tongue licked the pills in, chewing them and she could see disgust and relief fight in him for a moment before he relaxed visibly.

Sara’s eyes widened. And then she nodded to herself. Knowing. Understanding.

“You gotta know it’s not really hard for me to recognize a junkie.” She told him in a velvet voice.

He stopped in his motions and stared at her.

Afraid of how he could react she babbled,

“I… uhm… I… I’m saying you don’t look so good.”

The man snorted and averted his eyes, his free hand ruffled nervously through his hair, his formerly tensed body relaxed slightly and he slouched down on the bonnet, sitting heavily on the bumper, staring into nothingness.

“I’m fine.” He whispered.

Sara hesitated shortly, than she couldn’t hold it back and said dryly,

“Yeah... I see. You mind me asking what you’re taking?”

“Varatril.”

She sighed and repeated in a low voice,

“Varatril. Benzodiazepine is a hard-core tranquilizer. Take these every day?”

The man was really sweating now, his former neatly hair messed up, looking at her through half-closed eyes and with a wry smile on his lips,

“Twenty milligrams.”

She gasped,

“Ohh… You must feel like you’re walking under water.”

He looked into space, and nodded slowly. His voice dropped and he said gravely,

“I do. It’s very quiet down here.”

“That’s why you started, right? The peace and quiet?”

Another slow nod.

“But… that’s not why you do it anymore though, is it? Now it’s the headaches, right? And you probably don’t sleep. And you know you’re gonna destroy yourself, right?”

He gulped, and then he seemed to break through his daze, his eyes re-focusing on her.

“We’re not here to discuss me and my problems, Ms. Tancredi. You should think more about your own now – because you’re in deep trouble. I need you to tell me what you father told you or gave you and if you can tell me where Scofield and Burrows are at the moment I would be thankful.”

Sara sighed and closed her eyes. It didn’t work… she had hoped he would sink deep enough into his daze that she could escape, but obviously he was used to his stuff.

“I really don’t know what you’re talking about. My father called me, he warned me about meeting up with someone I thought was a friend and told me that we should meet up as soon as possible.

But when I finally got to meet him he was already dead.

I can’t help you. He hasn’t given me anything. He hasn’t told me anything. And I really have no idea where Michael Scofield or Lincoln Burrows are at the moment.”

She stared him directly in the eyes, unblinking.

It was the truth. All of it. A Half-truth, but nevertheless the truth.

Her father had told her nothing and had given her nothing. She had found a strange looking key with an embedded crown beneath his body and if she remembered right this key was somewhere in her handbag.

But he hadn’t handed it to her.

And she didn’t know where the brothers where RIGHT NOW.

So she stared him dead in the eyes, fought to suppress the trembling she could feel starting deep within her core and tried to convince him with her eyes that she was telling the truth.

He sighed and rose at his feet, training his gun at her.

“Your decision… now I have to hurt you.” he said sadly and stood up, opened the door on the passenger’s side and retrieved a simple black box and a pair of handcuffs.





****************************

Her heart skipped a beat. That was it. Now he would hurt her and then she would die. She could feel a whimper rise in her throat, she struggled to her feet and her glance darted frantically through the dark room, searching for something which could help her, which could save her.

“Kneel down. Hands behind your head and then kneel down. I had so hoped that you would be cooperative, but now I will have to hurt y…”

The doors clattered in the wind, his head jerked around and his eyes narrowed – and that was Sara’s only chance.

She leapt forward and tackled the bigger man. Taken by surpise, she sent him to the ground, falling heavily on top of him, crushing her knee in his guts and was rewarded with a grunt as her weight hit the air from his lungs.

Jumping up she reached out for the tower of stools and tore them down with all her might and sped in a crazy dash for the doors, the rumble of the falling stools, the strange sound of a stifled bang, the painful cry of the stranger and the hot rush of adrenaline propelling her forwards.

She tore the doors open and threw them closed behind her, her breath coming in hot gasps, her eyes darting desperately around in search for a shelter, for a hide-out.

Overwhelmed from panic she simply ran into the darkness, not seeing anything, not feeling the pain in her bare feet pounding on the harsh ground, running into some of the cars suddenly jumping up from the dark, not noticing a hot, sticky wetness running down her arm, cooling quickly in the chill of the night, not hearing the voice behind calling her name.

And then she felt hands grab her shoulders, she shrieked, her scream immediately stilled by a big hand covering her mouth, and she was forcefully dragged away into deeper shadows.





****************************

No! She fought with all force left in her, she bit in the hand covering her mouth, she yanked her head back and felt the hardness of her skull connect with the chin of the man, she heard him grunt in surprise and pain.

And than he let her go, without warning and she slammed hard on the ground, the air knocked out of her lungs and she could see stars dancing before her eyes.

Only a second later he had grabbed her again and pinned her with his weight against the wreck of a truck. Now she was facing him, his hand again pressing against her mouth and over her nose – more violently this time, no chance to bite again, hardly possible to breathe, her legs and arms pressed helplessly together and all she was able to move were her eyelids.

But she didn’t even blink.

She could only stare.

Staring in disbelief and fear at the handsome and well-known face… staring at the busted and swollen lip, at the small stream of blood from his nose and cut, dropping from his chin onto her almost bare chest… staring in the now nearly black eyes unrecognisable from the normal colour of a quiet sea beneath a blue summer sky… staring at the face of Lance… staring at his free hand moving on his lips, gesturing her to be quiet.

“Sshhh…. Shhh…” he whispered.

“Sara – cool down. Now’s no time to explain but you have to believe me: I’m here to help you. I’m not after you, I’m after Mahone. And I need you to do exactly what I want you to do… got me?”

Her mind raced, her father had told her to stay away from him, he was dangerous, why should she trust him, how had he found her, what if…

…but her need for air was now bigger than all her fears and still staring horrified at him she nodded slightly – or better said she tried, she could hardly move…

“Don’t scream… don’t do something stupid, ok?” and finally he let her go.

Immediately she broke down on her knees, desperately trying to catch her breath in the cool, sweet air. Desperately fighting against the urge to cough, to stay silent.

“Good girl. Sara – listen… Stay here, stay hidden. I’ll take him down and then we will go back to the hotel and Nikki and then we will leave, ok?

Stay here – I don’t want to have to look for you…”

She didn’t know what to think. Her thoughts were running amok and she felt disoriented and tired. So she nodded defeatedly.

“Ok… stay hidden… I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

And with that he turned and left her alone.







****************************

Still dancing and singing Nikki had wiped up the water, removed her bedding and hung it over the bathtub to dry over night.

The song had ended and she skimmed through her iPod for another favourite of hers – ‘Jump’ from Simple Plan.

She wondered if Sara knew that song – they had loved the same songs as they had been kids, but probably their tastes in music would have changed now. It would really be interesting if Sara…

Sara.

Nikki frowned and looked at the alarmclock at the table.

She had not really paid attention when Sara had left the room, but she had heard three or four songs in between – and that meant Sara had been out for about 20 minutes.

She pulled out the earphones and and licked her lips nervously.

“Sar? Sara?” her voice sounded little and very nervous in her own ears, and of course there was no answer – Sara had left the room to retrieve the GPS from the car and she had not returned since then. The room was not that big that she could have sneaked in without being noticed.

Going down to the car and coming back should have taken her 5 minutes at most.

Her eyes flickered back to the clock.

Damn! How could she have been so careless? They were on the run, they were wanted!

It took her only seconds to jump in her jeans, grab the keys and to make a dash for the door, her mind only focused on her missing friend, and of what may have happened to her.

Almost sobbing she tore the door open to storm through – but instead of that she jumped back with a shriek, her shaking hand covering her mouth, her pale blue eyes widened in sheer horror…





****************************

Lance had left her alone to deal with what had happened, alone with her fear, with her exhausted body, alone in the dark with her thoughts running in crazy circles.

Sara started violently to shake, and deep sobs rocked her body.

She could hear faint voices from the shed now and took in a trembling breath, realizing suddenly all the injuries of her body, all the aches and burning scratches, and she was so tired…

She tried to focus on something, on the voices, but she felt somehow dizzy and she closed her eyes, only for a moment.

Yanking her eyes open with pure will Sara bit her lips and moaned softly – her left arm had just started to throb painfully, but her fingers felt numb. It was too dark to see properly in the moonlight, but she lifted her right hand to feel for her left arm, to figure out what was causing the pain… and she froze, a scowl of concern flickering over her tired and tearful face.

She pulled her fingers back and looked down at them – they felt slippery and wet, looking glittery and black in the moonlight.

She was bleeding! No wonder that she felt that dizzy, she was losing blood and she had no idea, why… she needed… her eyelids fluttered again…. No!

Wincing in pain which was now coming in waves simultaneously with her heartbeat she fought to unclip her bra, twiddling it out with effort beneath her tight top, biting her lip deeply to stay awake. Panting heavily she finally finished a makeshift tourniquet to stop the bleeding.

Wearily she tried to get up but she got giddy and finally darkness consumed her, she slumped down, her eyes flickering closed and the world drifted away…





****************************

Paul somehow managed to find them. He darted through the parked cars into the direction they had vanished only to find himself in the darkness of a small man-made ‘wood’ which surrounded the parking lot and hotel.

He found a moonlit wasteland, filled with carwrecks and discarded metals.

Damn! Where were they? They could be anywhere!

In this moment he could see light coming from a big shed several hundred feet away.

He pulled his gun out and approached the barn slowly and carefully – now he could hear voices.

Paul searched and it didn’t take long before he found a wider gap to peek inside.

He could see Mahone from behind and Sara sitting on the floor, she looked up with a terrified expression on her face at the man who was talking at the phone. And from what Paul could hear he was talking with that little bastard Kimmie.

Paul frowned – if the angle was better he would have a good opportunity to take Mahone out… but he couldn’t do anything from this point.

Ahh… Mahone had got the command to kill her, he could tell after eavesdropping this partial conversation.

Thinking through his possibilities he decided to go directly through the doors… Kick in, aim, shoot and get the doc out.

He could hear them talk about Mahone’s addiction. Paul smirked – of course Sara had noticed what was going on, she was a smart one…

Stealthily he made his way to the front doors and tried to peer inside but as he looked he felt the wind freshen up and the doors rattled in front of him.

He froze and could hear Mahone stopping in mid-sentence – and then all hell broke loose…





****************************

He could hear the dull sound of flesh against flesh, a grunt, the muted bang of a silenced-gun and the crashing sound of falling objects intermingled with a cry of pain.

Paul jumped up and raced for the doors as they flung open and a pale, red-headed whirlwind raced through, slammed them shut and sprinted in the direction of the trees without seeing, fully in the grip of panic…

Muttering under his breath Paul was hot on her heels, calling her name as loud as he dared – and finally he grabbed her – only to find a hot-blooded fury in his arms, biting, kicking and head-butting him, her skull crashing hard against his mouth and nose.

That bloody bitch!

Restraining his anger he dropped her heavily to the ground, taking advantage of her inability to breathe, grabbed her again and this time he didn’t leave her space to fight back.

Pinning her against an old truck using his bodyweight and strength he cut off her air supply with his big hand to get her full attention; he stared her in the eyes, recognition slowly crept over her face and changed quickly into pure fear. His lip and nose throbbed and he could feel blood driping from his chin.

Paul had to admit the little cat had sharp claws when cornered…

Still holding her restrained with brute force he moved his free hand to his lips, gesturing her to be quiet.

“Sshhh…. Shhh…” he whispered.

“Sara – cool down. Now’s no time to explain but you have to believe me: I’m here to help you. I’m not after you, I’m after Mahone. And I need you to do exactly what I want you to do… got me?”

His hand was covering her mouth and nose, it was a quick way to cool her down, she would need air, and that would make her obey.

“Don’t scream… don’t anything something stupid, ok?” and finally he let her go.

She broke down on her knees, gulping for air, but he had no time to comfort her now.

“Good girl. Sara – listen… Stay here, stay hidden. I’ll take him down and then we will go back to the hotel and Nikki and then we will leave, ok?

Stay here – I don’t want to have to look for you…”

No answer – but then a light nod. Relief flodded him.

“Ok… stay hidden… I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

And with that he had returned to the shed.






****************************

His weapon at attention he sneaked closer, surveying the area and ready to shoot.

But then… he had heard a strange sound.

Sobbing. From the barn.

Setting one foot before the other he had neared the half-opened doors and peeked inside – and had found Alexander Mahone sitting at the spot Sara had been sitting before, his face buried in his hands, sobbing heavily.

His weapon lay abandoned on the bonnet of his car.

Paul sighed, took Mahone’s weapon, locked it and slid it in the back of his jeans. Than he locked his own weapon and stood in front of Mahone.

“Hey.”

Mahone’s head jerked up, the guy looked like crap. Eyes red and blotchy, snot and tears running down his face.

“C’mon – put an end to me…” he begged at Paul, his voice barely more than a whisper.

Paul shook his head. “What’s up, Alex?”

“You can tell Kimmie that I have failed… The doc is gone. And I can’t go on… just can’t… b-but he shall not h-hurt my family…”

Paul was deeply in thought now.

He knew that he had been in a ‘lucky position’ – he had no family (or at least they didn’t know about Kristine, his sister – he had made sure that there was no connection to her) and so they had never had the possibility to blackmail him into doing things he didn’t want to do.

“What were your orders?” he asked the broken man in front of him.

Rubbing his nose with his arm Mahone answered in a dull monotone,

“Find the doctor, retrieve the needed information, kill her. But now they don’t even want the information… they want her in the ground.”

Paul nodded.

“She’s gone?”

“Yeah… and now they will hurt my f-family…”

Scratching his head Paul thought about it. And got an idea.

Damn… he was turning into a softy… he tought sarcastically.

“Ok. Alex – listen. I can help you play for time. But you need to do exactly what I tell you now. Clear so far?”

Alex’s sobbing stopped and he looked up at him, a little hope creeping back in his bloodshot eyes.

“How?” he whispered.

“We kill the doc and you send her pics to Kimmie. Than you take a flight to your family instead of back to Chicago, meet up with them and you need to vanish. That’s all what I can do for you.”

“Kill the doc? But I have told you she’s gone!”

Paul sighed.

“I know where she is… she looks really bad, we convince her to play dead, you take some photos with your mobile phone, you send them to Kimmie and write that you’re putting her into the ground – and than you take your car and leave us… leave them alone. Go and rescue your family… go and find… find yourself again.”

Mahone thought about it for one moment, than he got up, a look of determination on his face.

“Ok… let’s go… I hope… she…” he sighed deeply. “I hope she will help me after what I have done to her.”

Paul smirked. “Hey – she’s a doc after all – it’s in her blood to help!”

Smiling wearily back at the younger man Mahone nodded. Then his eyes narrowed and he pointed at Paul’s bloodstained shirt and jeans.

“You’re ok? Looks like you had been bleeding.”

Paul frowned,

“No, just a nice punch, I've not been bleeding too bad.”

Now it was Mahone who was frowning.

“Man, that’s too much blood for only a split lip and bloody nose. What have you done?”

This time Paul looked down on his body and now he realized that Alex was right – his clothes were soaked with blood – he had been too distracted with hunting Alex down to see it.

“Holy shit… Sara!”

And with that he turned and ran back into the darkness, Mahone directly on his tracks…






****************************

They found her where he had left her – she must have realized she was injured because she had been able to manage a make-shift pressure before she collapsed.

“Damn! Nikki will kill me!” Paul muttered, kneeling beside Sara and searching for a pulse.

He breathed with relief when he found it, weak, but steady.

“Nikki? Is that the short one who was with her?” Mahone asked curiously.

Paul ignored this question.

“You must have hit her – I have heard a shot before she stormed off… Ok, take your pictures but from the other side so that the compression can’t be seen… she’s covered in blood and very pale, it's perfect, but do it quickly, I have to bring her in for help.”

Mahone nodded, took his mobile and took some pictures. He felt terrible looking at the young woman.

“Tell her… tell her I’m sorry. And thank you. I will send the pictures to Kimmie and hopefully I can take my family to a safe place. Thank you…”

Paul looked at him and nodded again.

“Yeah… now go!”

Mahone hurried back to the shed and Paul bent down to lift Sara in his arms.

She moaned slightly but didn’t wake up. Hopefully she had not lost too much blood… They could hardly take her to a hospital.

Paul sighed and carried her back to the hotel.

Glancing carefully around he didn’t see anyone... he left the shadows, crossed the parking lot and headed for the stairs.

Only a minute later he stood slightly panting in front of their room, balancing Sara’s weight on his left arm, her head resting on his left shoulder, rising his right fist to knock at the door – suddenly the door opened and a desperate looking Nikki stood in the threshold, her beautiful mouth dropping open and then she jumped back with a shriek, her shaking hand covering her mouth, her pale blue eyes widening in sheer horror, staring at Paul and her blood-covered, unconscious friend in his arms…






****************************

“Hi Nikki – come on – let us in, Sara needs help!” he managed to say, his heart fluttering in his chest at the sight of her.

Nikki walked backwards and let him in, her mind racing – what did that mean? Was this really Paul? Why was he here? How had he found her? What had happened to Sara, and why was it Paul who was carrying her?

Deathly pale she closed the door behind them and scurried to Sara’s side, totally shocked to find her friend more dead than alive.

“W-what… Sar?” She was shaking helplessly. She could feel it. She didn’t know what to do. She was petrified.

Paul could see that Nikki was totally undone now.

He sighed. That was not how he had imagined their reunion.

“Ok. Nikki? Nikki! Listen. Sara needs you now. Do you have a first aid kit anywhere?”

Slowly Nikki’s wide blue eyes focussed on his face.

“Y-yes. In Sar’s backpack.”

He smiled reassuringly at her.

“That’s fine, Sweetheart. Go and get it and bring some towels and water – and ice, if you can.”

Staring at him like he was a ghost it took her a moment to understand, but than she was moving.

Nikki shook her head. And pinched herself.

“Ouch…” she was not dreaming… Paul was here, and Sara was injured.

Taking a deep breath she rushed to get the things he had asked for, then she returned to his side.

“Ok, do you have some painkillers, too? She will need some…”

Nodding she searched in her handbag for painkillers and watched from the corner of her eye how Paul carefully put a towel beneath Sara and opened a bottle of antiseptic.

“N-Nikki?” Sara stirred wearily and her eyes opened…

“Hey, Sar…” with tears in her voice she sat down beside her friend, taking her hand in her own. “What happened… where have you been? I…”

Taking her shaking hand in his bigger one Paul tried to soothe Nikki.

“Nikki, not now, I will explain everything later… Sara, it’s good that you are awake. You have been shot, and I have to treat your wound now. It looks like a graze, but it’s deep and you have lost some blood.”

Sara blinked, but nodded.

“K.” Her voice sounded raspy.

“Nikki, help her take the painkillers, Sara, please try to keep them down, the water will be good for you.”

Both women nodded and Nikki helped Sara sit up and to swallow the pills and some gulps of water.

After that Sara looked a little more awake and she glanced wearily, but with interest at her wound.

“I'll clean it now, I fear it will hurt like hell.”

Sara gulped audibly, but nodded. And quickly he poured some of the antiseptic over her wound.

She drew a long breath between gritted teeth, her nostrils flared and a tear silently slipped down her cheek – and the grip of her hand threatened to smash Nikki’s delicate fingers to pulp. But she didn’t scream.






****************************

After a few, deep breaths she turned her head and examined the graze. It was about 7 inch long and her flesh looked really ugly and deformed because of the swelling and bruises.

“Ok…” she said.

Paul looked quizzically at her.

“I… uhm… I need a needle, a lighter, a long fibre and some ice…”

Nikki and Paul shared one look, taken aback and appalled at the same time.

“You… you want to stitch yourself up, Sar?” Nikki asked with slight shaking voice.

Sara sighed.

“No… I don’t want to… I need to… so please, do it…”

Paul nodded at Nikki and she did what Sara told her – she threaded a needle with shaking fingers and sterilized it over a flame.

In the meantime Paul fetched fresh ice from the ice machine and numbed the graze with it… and after a while the swelling had ebbed a little.

And then Sara again took a deep breath, shaking at the beginning but more calm at the end – and started the ghastly task of stitching herself up.

At first, Nikki was morbidly fascinated with it but after a few seconds she realised she couldn’t watch the needle dipping into the torn flesh of her friend again and again, that she couldn’t bear to see Sara getting more pale from one second to the other, to see her reddened and bloody fingers tremble, to hear her gritting her teeth and the little sobbing sounds that escaped her lips with every stitch, to watch sweat intermingle with constantly and silent falling tears – and especially she couldn’t endure to see the fibre being pulled through skin and flesh.

Her imagination only added to her uprising nausea and she was sure she could HEAR and FEEL the fibre sliding through her friend.

Jumping to her feet she rushed into the bathroom and vomited violently, retching over and over again even though nothing was left to be thrown up.

Then she stood up on shaking legs and washed her pale face with cold water and stared at herself in the mirror. Her pale blue eyes were much too big and she shook her head and and rinsed her mouth.

Taking a deep breath to regain her composure she finally opened the door and re-entered the room.






****************************

A tired and strained looking Sara watched Paul fastening a blinding white bandage over her fresh stitches.

She turned as she heard the bathroom door open and smiled with exhaustion at Nikki.

“So sorry, hun…” she whispered, “didn’t mean to make you sick.”

Nikki shook her head, and smiled wryly back at Sara.

“No Sar… I’m the one who is sorry… but it… I…”

She shrugged.

And sighed.

“Well… let’s see – there are enough other wounds left I can surely handle without getting sick again.”

Still avoiding Paul’s eyes she started to examine Sara’s scratches, cuts and bruises covering her arms and especially the soles of her poor feet.

Everytime his eyes fell on her she could feel his glance burning deep within her soul and then she had difficulty in breathing.

But she concentrated on Sara and somehow she stayed focused.

Sara was in a slight daze now, but suddenly she jerked up and looked in panic around, staring wide-eyed at Paul.

“You… how… My father said you are not who you pretend to be… and that I should avoid you, Lance…”

Nikki’s eyes grew big and she stared at Paul, her mouth hanging literally open.

That was… Paul was Lance? They gay guy Sara had told her? With the blueberry pies?

Paul could see in Nikki’s eyes that Sara had told her about him. Well… about Lance.

He sighed and leant forward, his elbows resting on his knees.

Looking her directly in her eyes he smiled sweetly and a little sheepishly at Sara and said,

“Hi Sara. As you can see…” he hesitated, than stretched his smile uneasily in a grimace before he resumed talking again “Hi, my name is not Lance, and I’m not an addict.”

He sighed and rubbed his stubble, than he gave another bashful smile, first looking at Sara and than at Nikki, too.

“My name is Paul Kellerman, and I’m – uhm… I was a secret service agent.”

He realized Sara’s glance had flickered to Nikki – and Nikki nodding wordlessly. So Nikki had told Sara about her little encounter with him at the Starbuck’s back in Chicago.

“I was working for President Reynolds, but was referred to ‘the Company’.

I was ordered to shadow you and to find out the whereabouts of Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows.

Than you refused to talk to me and they gave me another person to observe – and there I met Nikki.”

He flashed a stunning smile at Nikki which made her tremble within her core. It had a beautiful mix between a smirk ‘I’m a bad boy and I know it’ and his beautiful seablue eyes doing a puppydog-style ‘Sorry hun, I ‘ll never do it again’.

Nikki felt her breath hitch in her throat and guiltily she realized that she was reacting physically to him… There he was, the man who had haunted her dreams and thoughts over the last days and nights – and who had hunted them for real. He looked slightly beaten up and with one day old stubble covering his face, his muscular body was clad in a black, longsleeved shirt which made him even more sexy despite it being soaked with stiffened stains of Sara’s blood.

His voice drove her back into reality.

“By the way – you never called me, Nikki…”

Gulping audibly her pale blue eyes sunk deeply and without rescue into his seablue ones, her mind racing to find an answer – she could not tell him that she had followed him and seen all the weapons, and that she had heard him talking about a job he had to do… to ‘…catch that little chick… She’s still running and now I need to go fix it!’

Horror filled her – horror and fascination… he had talked about Sara! She had eavesdropped him telling his sidekick that he was ordered to go after her best friend!

She felt like her guts had turned into molten lava.

He was telling the truth… he had been sent after Sara…

Now slightly frowning at Nikki’s visible reaction of his words Paul turned to Sara again and continued.

“But then they killed your father and tried to kill you, too. And all got out of hand.”







****************************

“I was ordered to find you, retrieve information from you and to kill you afterwards.”

He could see the horror growing in both pairs of eyes looking at him. It was terrible enough the look of despair and betrayal in the set of amber eyes… but the deep hurt and rejection in those amazing blue orbs he had learned to love so much in this short time almost broke his heart.

“But… I can’t do it anymore. I… searched for you… found out about Kelli Foster and Scofield’s Origami-Code… and that Nikki was with you. All the time, I waited for her to call me – and as she didn’t I decided to check on her. Then I found out that you were her friend who had turned her down at the mall.

And something snapped.

I… I can’t let something harm Nikki. And if I fulfil my orders and kill you, I would hurt her. And maybe I had to cut her off, too. And I just can’t do it.”

Now he had averted his eyes and his jaw was clenched.

Nikki couldn’t help herself, but her heart flew out to him. But could she really believe in what he was saying? Or was it only another set up?

“I’m done with the Company. I’m done with Caroline. My supervisor turned me down and sent Alexander Mahone on your tracks.

So… I’m on the run now, too.

And I can help you. Like I did already with Mahone.

And – speaking of running – we should go now. Help Sara into fresh clothes, and than we need to pack and leave.

It’s no longer safe here… We faked her death and sent the pictures to Mr. Kim, but that’s no guarantee that they will not send somebody to check Mahone’s work. So we should move.”







****************************

Sara licked her lips and shot a glance at Nikki… Her friend looked like a bundle of nerves… So her ‘gay’ and false friend Lance was Nikki’s big love Paul? The one with all the weapons?

What a mess… No wonder that Nikki looked utterly torn now. She knew how deeply Nikki had fallen for the stranger from the mall, she could tell it from the way her eyes had shone as she told her about him… and she could tell it now from her expression of total shock and despair.

She closed her eyes wearily… what should they do? Lance – no, Paul – had framed her once… and he really was a dangerous guy.

Should she trust his doe eyes? Or was he only after Michael and Lincoln? Was Paul a wolf in sheep’s clothing and she would lead him blue-eyed all the way to the brother’s?

On the other hand he had rescued her… or had it been only to gain her trust?

She sighed and rubbed her forehead. She felt so tired all she wanted to do was sleep…

“Paul – what happened to… Mahone?” she asked finally.

Nikki listened but had started to pack their things – despite her not knowing how to handle Paul, he was right - it was no longer safe here… and packing kept her occupied and helped her escape his intriguing glances, her desperate growing need to jump on him and kiss him down and ignore all what had been and all what might be…

Now it was Pauls turn to sigh.

“He has family, you know? He was a good man, a successful FBI agent… and as far as I know they approached him several times, but couldn’t win him over. Until he… crossed the line and took out Oscar Shales… you heard from him?”

Sara and Nikki exchanged another glance, Sara nodded – and Nikki negated it with a short shake of the head.

“Mahone was been the chief investigator in the case of Oscar Shales… that pervert had tortured, raped and killed several women in only a few months. He was smart, cruel and he loved to play with Mahone… and came closer and closer to Mahone's friends and family with each kill, he threatened to kill his wife and son.

But one day Mahone was smarter – was one step quicker than Shales. And he had made sure that Shales would never again be a threat. Instead of turning him in and commit him to the authorities he killed him and buried his body…

That was all what the company needed – that and the key to Mahone’s vulnerability. The knowledge that they could wield power over him by threatening his family.

He’s only a pawn in their hands… or better said: he had been a pawn in their hands.

After leaving you I found him in the shed, he had a complete breakdown.

Well… I have to apologize, Sara…”

Sara who had been taken aback at the unscrupulousness of the company looked up puzzled at Paul.

He smiled sheepishly and shrugged,

“We made some pictures of you while you were unconscious… we had jumped at the chance, you looked like you were dead and Mahone needed a proof for his supervisor that he had fulfilled his task.”

Paul sighed again.

“He’s now on his way to his family… the pictures of your ‘dead body’ should give him some time to bring them into a safe place…”

His voice trailed off and his glance fell to Nikki gathering the remnants of the first aid kit and storing it in one of the backpacks.

Sara watched him for a moment closely, she could see his face softening and how he looked at Nikki – she could tell he had fallen for Nikki as hard as Nikki had fallen for him.

“Ok…” she said tiredly, drawing the attention of Nikki and Paul at her.

“I don’t know why and I hope it’s not a big mistake, but I believe you. And we have to go. Now. Nikki, can you help me into some fresh clothes? I don’t want to wear those any second longer…” she shivered as her fingers touched the bloodstained top and jeans.

Nikki nodded and grabbed fresh clothes for Sara from her bag.

Paul smiled openly at her,

“Thank you for your trust – I know how hard it must be for you. I’m really sorry for all that happened between us…”

Biting back tears Sara managed to answer,

“Yeah… it is… now let’s get outta here, I’m so tired… and I still need that GPS, Nikki…”





****************************

Half an hour later they were again on the road… after feeding the data into the GPS Sara had settled down on the back seats, carefully tucked into a blanket by Nikki.

They decided to leave the Honda behind, it was too small for the three of them and all their luggage – and the BMW had the stronger engine.

Paul planned to get rid of it as soon as possible – they needed to cover their tracks and avoid making those little mistakes they had made so far.

Sara was so groggy now, her thoughts still running in circles, full of Michael and guns and hurt… she could only hope that she had not made a big mistake in trusting Paul… hopefully all would be ok…

Only a few seconds later her body claimed the much needed sleep to recover some strength.

Nikki, snuggled in the big passenger seat besides Paul, glanced back at the limp form of her injured friend, concern etched in her pretty face.

“She will be fine… she seems to be fragile, but believe me - she’s much stronger than she thinks.” Paul’s tongue touched softly his split lip whilst he tried to reassure her.

Nikki bit her bottom lip and glanced wordlessly out in the dark of the night, fighting against tears.

Finally the stress and pressure of the last days was coming down on her.





****************************

It was in about 2 a.m. now.

She hardly could believe what terrible things had happened to Sara while she had been singing and dancing, forgetting the menace hanging over them for in about twenty minutes.

She felt so guilty for those stolen minutes now.

Paul somehow seemed to sense what was going on in her head.

He reached out for her hand and covered it with his big one, his thumb caressing her slightly.

“Hey… it’s not your fault. You couldn’t have done one damn thing to help her. If you'd tried, you would already be dead.”

Just like she had during their little encounter in Chicago, she could feel the sparks flying between them at his touch, her belly was filled with dancing butterflies and she had difficulty in thinking straight. But his words got her attention.

“What do you mean?” she asked huskily.

His eyes trained on the dark street Paul took his time to answer.

Then he sighed,

“Sara was the target. She has some information the company wants back… you… are only a security risk, an additional threat for the company, a disposable civilian.”

He could feel her body tensing at his words.

“Nikki… to… ehrm… to fulfil my orders I would have been forced to kill you. To make sure that… ehm…

And Mahone would have done the same… if you had shown up he wouldn't have lost any time in asking questions… he would have shot you and THEN he would have asked questions…

What I'm trying to say is – if you had been there… you would have been dead within seconds, and Sara… Sara would have gone through this either way…”

Nikki pressed her eyes closed… she could feel tears burn but didn’t want to cry in front of him.

Paul was right. She knew with her whole heart that he was right – and it scared her to death… but she couldn’t stop feeling guilty… she had failed Sara for not being there for her.





****************************

Glancing at Nikki Paul could tell that she didn’t take it well.

So he decided to pull over and stopped at the roadside.

Without another word he turned to Nikki and pulled her into his strong arms, her instant reluctance melting away within seconds and she nestled against his broad chest.

He could feel her crying softly, her tiny body shaken from her intense feelings.

As he felt her slowly calming down he kissed her at her silken hair, his hands stroked her back soothingly.

And then she pulled back, apologizing for her weakness, wiping her eyes and sniffing – and never before had he seen a woman more beautiful than her in this very moment. He cupped her wet face in his hands and kissed her tears away before he lowered his lips over hers.

Tenderly.

And as he felt her relaxing into the kiss he probed her sweet lips with his tongue, barely hoping to get entrance… and was surprised when she slid her arms around his neck and responded eagerly to his kiss, her tongue sliding between his lips, leading the way, stroking and teasing at his soft flesh.

A deep moan escaped him and he shuddered against her, feeling himself harden at her touch.

Finally they had to break the kiss to gasp for much needed air, their eyes shining with desire and need, Nikki’s lips swollen from his hot kiss and stubble, her soft skin flushed. Their eyes connected in a fusion of blue on blue, their fingers entwined, their heavy pants filling the air.

Sara’s sleepy but clearly amused voice made them jerk apart, and Nikki blushed deeply.

“I thought you two would never stop eating each other's faces…” she giggled softly.

“I would say 'get a room'… but I’m really sorry, there’s no time for it now… I fear you Lovebirds will have to wait a little longer… although after witnessing this hot kiss I’m sure it will be worth the wait…”

She yawned audibly and dozed off again.

Paul smirked and let his fingers trail gently over Nikki’s cheek and down her slender neck, lingering shortly at her collarbone to hook in her cleavage, pulling her back to him.

His eyes were sparkling mischievously as he tasted her sweet and tempting lips again before he broke away.

“She’s right, you know? But we need to remember where we were. I can hardly wait to flip this book open again, to turn the page and start a new chapter with you…” his voice low and seducing now, his intense eyes boring deep into hers, striking a chord deeply within her core.

Breathlessly she whispered back “me too…”, her eyes brimming over with desire and the promise of… more.

With a happy sigh she nuzzled back in her seat whilst Paul guided the BMW back at the road again, a blissful expression on his face.

They could make it. He was sure…
End Notes:
Please - take a heart and review! :)
Chapter 17 - The darkness within by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
Warning: Like the header says - it will get dark and vile...
I'm so sorry for that... hopefully some readers will stay with me after that... *sigh*

.
********************
The darkness within

********************

He changed from deep sleep to wide awake in only a second and jerked up, his heart pounding painfully in his chest, his mouth dry, a cry on his lips and his eyes darting in panic, scanning around the slightly lit room.

Staring wide eyed at his foreign surroundings, the memories of the last night came rushing back and hit him with full force.

Michael stumbled at his feet, avoiding somehow stepping on the big dog lying on the carpet in front of the bed and made it into the bath room just in time – embracing the toilet bowl, he vomited heavily as his head replayed all that happened the night before, as he relived it all down to the last detail…

Thanks to his LLI he was trapped in an infinite loop, with each replay he seemed to focus more and more - from the vile feeling of T-Bags tongue in his mouth to his rancid smell, from the pores and little lines on T-Bags forehead to the little ruby droplets of his own blood sprinkling his attackers face after the third punch, from the screwy expression he had worn to the disgusting feeling of his hands on his skin…

…it all happened again and again, it was zooming closer and closer and gained speed. He felt like a child again, sitting on a carousel pushed violently by Lincoln which wouldn’t stop, spinning his brain, overloading it with the quickly changing surrounding views, desperately trying to absorb and collect and process the data overwhelming him.

He winced as something wet and cold touched his neck softly – his highspeed train of thoughts came to an abrupt halt and he was put out of his misery.

Michael opened his turquoise eyes and his glance met soft, brown eyes watching him with concern, a black, wet nose nudging again his cheek.

“Uhm… thanks, it’s good, boy…” he mumbled and patted the dog's silken head, than he struggeled wearily to his feet.

Without looking into the mirror he filled the washbowl with cold water and rinsed his mouth.

Then he looked around the little bathroom and a wry smile escaped him at the sight of some towels and washcloths lying on a chair beside some jeans and a dark grey and blue, longsleeved western shirt with a big, pale checked pattern.

Softly shaking his head and silently thanking Kat for her bounty he took a washcloth and buried his aching head in the cold liquid filling the bowl.

It felt good… soothing some of his throbbing pains and waking him up at the same time.

Then he couldn’t avoid a glance in the mirror any longer.

With a sigh he straightened up and looked at himself.




***************************************

Jeeez… T-Bag had done a good job on him…

The swelling had ebbed a little and his right eye was now almost free, but was graced from a nice shiner.

The cut over his left eye looked nasty and because of the swelling its edges looked angry, red and purple. Kat was right – he would need stitches or it would become an ugly scar. And maybe some antibiotics would be good too – it seemed to be slightly inflamed. This eye was also surrounded with a dark bruise.

Carefully licking over his split lip he suddenly had to laugh at himself. It was really not funny, but with those two shiners he truly resembled a racoon.

But his laughing was not right – it was a strange sound, somehow bitter and strangled… it sounded so alien in his ears that he stopped immediately.

The rest of his face was covered with several marks in all colours and his throat still showed colourful imprints of T-Bag’s hands.

Sighing deeply he stared lost in thought at the stormclouded eyes of his reflection.

He knew he should get dressed and find Kat, the sun was rising and when he turned a little he could see behind his battered face in the mirror the reflection of a stunning sunrise, the soft change from deep purple into crimson and burning orange at the corners whilst the sky above still was wearing it’s glorious nightgown of velvet black and scarab blue sparkled with diamonds… but he was not in the mood for that breathtaking wonder of nature – instead he felt drawn into the hazardous depths of his eyes – the shattered windows of his broken soul he thought dryly.

Michael shivered… he felt tainted, flawed through T-Bags touches and actions, not worthy of enjoying such a beautiful sight.

But that was not all… He gulped audibly and clenched his jaw, never breaking the staring of the other, darker Michael, staring him coldly and knowingly down out of the mirror, forcing him cruelly to face the truth.

What he had suffered only a few hours ago had brought vile memories to light. Memories he had buried so deep within he almost had managed to forget them.

Michael sighed again. No. That was not true… he had all the time been lying to himself. He never had left those places… his inner self still lived there. Was buried there, alone, without light, without love, without hope.

Those memories had always been with him. They followed him like his shadow, they affected all his actions, all aspects of his life.

A big part of himself tried to break away, to close the door, sealing it and trying to bury these experiences again. To ignore this stigmata throbbing through his whole existence.

But now… there was a reason to fight… there was a reason to change… and that reason had a name: Sara.

If he truly wanted to be with her, if he wanted a future with her – he would be forced to talk about it – about the darkness within… she earned the right that he should be completely honest to her.

If he didn’t want to let that dark part of his life grow like a cancer, spreading between them and tainting her too – he had to face it, he had to face the truth, had to accept what had happened to him and had to fight its effects… now was as good a time as any.

Never breaking the eye-contact with the strong Michael in the mirror, drawing strength from his unwavering blue-steel stare he knowingly returned to his personal hell on earth, travelled back in time, joined his 10-year-old self back in…

…Pershing Avenue. Michael could feel bitter bile rising again. No. He had to do this. Now.




*** Flashback Michael - Pershing Avenue ***
*******************************************

Pershing Avenue… After a short and loving time being together with Linc in a nice foster home Lincoln had stolen money from their foster parents.

Linc had been sent to Juvie again and Michael had been forced to pack his few things and had been sent to Pershing Avenue. To…

his grip at the washbowl tightened, his knuckles whitened and he could feel his breath hitch painfully in his chest.

… to Mr. Roberts. ‘Slim’ Roberts. Drawing a shaking breath he licked his suddenly dry lips.

He had been brought to Mr. Roberts at the beginning of the summer holidays. Enough time away from school and other adults who maybe could have discovered what was happening to him, who maybe could have interfered…

It had not started on the first day… Mr. Roberts seemed to be a nice man and Michael had a room for himself – tiny, but clean and with a surprisingly big bed which almost filled all the space.

Mr. Roberts was working at a garage as a chief motor mechanic and the oil and grease he was working with was unremovable; imbedded in the skin of his hands and the smell of it always lingered in his hair and clothe.

They had got along well together, even played some games of chess - but then the first weekend came, and Mr. Roberts got visitors… ‘friends’ of his, co-workers from his garage.

And everything changed.





************************

Their names were Hank, Joey and Bob, each one like Mr. Roberts - smelling of oil and petrol.

They called Mr. Roberts ‘Slim’ – and little Michael’s brain tried to work out why they would call him that – because Mr. Roberts was extremely massive and anything but slim.

Mr. Roberts had called Michael in the living room to greet his visitors and Michael could remember how uncomfortable he had felt under the undisguised stares of the men, smiling down at him with a strange gleaming in their eyes and making remarks about the contrast of his black hair to his white skin and his clear turquoise eyes… like he wasn't with them in the same room, like he couldn’t hear them talking.

He had been very unsettled – did Mr. Roberts expect him to answer?

Michael lowered his eyes and blushed because of the concentrated attention – which resulted in remarks how pretty, long and dark his eyelashes were and how cute he would look blushing like a girl.

After that he had been sent in his room and he was thankful for that. All those big men were frightening him and he disliked the way they had watched him and talked about him.




**************************************

They were drinking beer and seemed to get louder and nastier from minute to minute.

Michael frowned – the walls were thin and he could hear every word and some of the things they were talking about seemed strange to him, especially when they were talking about women and young men, and what they would want to do with them.

Michael ended up in solving mathematic problems and trying some interesting mathematic formulas he had found in a book in the library to distract himself from the disgusting men still drinking next-door. He would have loved to turn up the light and read the book – but he didn’t dare. What if Mr. Roberts wouldn’t like him being up so late? What if he got angry with him?

But he couldn’t concentrate on it, the rambling got louder and louder and finally he gave up… he started to count how often he could hear each voice, how many words were spoken, which words were used more often than others, how many sentences and words every man had spoken so far… He listed it all easily in his mind whilst listening actively. The one called Hank was definitely the wordiest of the men…




**************************************

He had to pee for almost an hour now but he hadn’t dared leave his room, the men outside had started to talk about him and other boys ‘Slim’ had before.

Michael hadn’t quite understood the sense behind the spoken words, but their mean laughter and bad words and the pictures he had conjured up had frightened him. They had asked Mr. Roberts if he would ‘share’ Michael with them and ‘when’.

Mr. Roberts had answered with a slightly slurred voice and a strange undertone Michael couldn’t quite place “Not now… he’s too fresh, not prepared… gimme a few weeks and he will be a worthy replacement for Thomas.”

One of the others had blurted out,

“That’s not fair, Slim! You always keep the virgins for yourself! He’s such a cute lil’ boy with his black hair and blue eyes – why can’t I hit it first? I would pay well, you know it!”

Mr. Roberts had growled back,

“If I let you have him first he will never be useable again! You always break your toys, Hank – it has always been this way! It’s your fault we lost Thomas so early! And you can be sure when I grant you time with Michael you will never be alone with the kid in the room! And if you will start to ‘overreact’ again I will drag you from him and will kick your butt – and this will be your last ride on one of my boys, you will never cross my threshold again!”

Michael had felt terrified, but was not quite sure why. He didn’t understand what the men were talking about – but it was not good, that was for sure.

The other men had angrily agreed to what Mr. Roberts had said and Hank had meekly apologised several times.

Shortly after that they had called it a night and left.




***********************************

Michael breathed a sigh of relief and flitted out of his room and into the bathroom, barely able to hold it back until he reached the toilet bowl.

Then he washed his hands and face and brushed his teeth, which was difficult because he simply couldn’t stop yawning.

With heavy eyes he made his way back to his room and crawled into his bed. Blissful silence fell across the house and he fell asleep within minutes.




******************************************

As a bedspring suddenly squeaked and a big weight pushed the mattress down on his left side he was totally petrified and stared wide eyed into the dark. All he could think was that Linc was not right… he was wrong … there were monsters in the closet and under the bed… and when it was dark enough, they would creep out…

Not daring to breathe Michael squeezed his eyes shut and repeated frantically “its not real, its only my fear, its less than air, its not real…” but at the same time he was aware that his fear never had been so ‘real’ and detailed, that he could hear breathing beside him, that he could feel warmth radiating from a foreign body beside him, that he could feel his mattress being pushed down and that he could smell the monster… and it smelt like Mr. Roberts, like motoroil and grease, sour and and like mouldy beer… and with all his willpower he reached out with a shivering little hand to his bedside lamp and turned it on to face his fear, to make it disappear.

But it didn’t.

Gasping for air he stared wide-eyed and panting into the lecherous grinning face of Mr. Roberts, staring back at him and licking his lips.




************************************

“Sssshhh… easy, boy… I felt lonesome and thought you would maybe too… I mean… you must feel lonesome too…”

Michael didn’t answer, his turquoise eyes seemed huge and clouded in the sparse light and his bottom lip shivered slightly.

Mr. Roberts drank in this adorable sight and pushed further, digging for things which would make the boy cry.

“It must be terrible to lose all what you love… your mother, dying in pain and leaving you and your brother alone to deal with the world… then your home – it must have been wonderful and for sure it was full of beloved memories of your mother and father? Her bed? Books? Pictures? All your toys?”

The trembling of the boy’s lips got more obvious now, he was on the right path.

Mr. Roberts sighed deeply and compassionately,

“And then your brother… I feel so sorry that you two couldn’t stay together. You must feel so lost now… no mother, no father, no brother – no family… only strangers…”

Now Michael’s eyes filled with tears and the misery he had kept so desperately at bay swept over and he started to sob silently.

“Oh nooo… no… Michael… I’m so sorry… I didn’t want to make you cry… I’m such a silly old man and had maybe one or two beers too much… shhhh… come here….” And he pulled Michael in a big bear hug.

The kid stiffened at first, but relaxed a little later into the soothing hug of the adult and Mr. Roberts stroked his back, mumbling senseless words of comfort.

“Now see what happened… you have cried so much that both our shirts are totally wet… come on – we get them off…” and with that he gripped the hem of Michaels wet shirt and slid it of the skinny body and did the same with his own.

Michael sniffed and rubbed his tired face with his little fists.

“Come here kid… its time to sleep… but I don’t think you should sleep alone now… thank god that I’ve this big bed in here, huh? Come on, snuggle up with me… I swear, I’m here for you… I will not vanish like your family… ohh… damn… I made you cry again… shhhh… I’ll hold you…” and he pressed the little, shivering body of Michael against his big and flabby chest and stomach, curling up around the boy, holding him tight… waiting for the kid to fall sound asleep.

It seemed to take hours before he could finally feel Michael relax in his arms, before the breaths became deep and measured.

He felt aroused just be holding the skinny body of the boy, feeling his warmth and smelling his unique scent of soap and pure child…

Carefully and slowly he began to undress himself and the boy – just seeing the limp body of the child stir slightly in his slumber without waking up almost sent him over the edge… but he restrained himself… not tonight…

Tonight he would only hold him, touch him a little… explore him… taste him… but no real action… in the morning he would start to instill some feelings of guilt in the boy, to make him obey, to get control over him.

He would add more pressure from day to day – and next weekend he would break him… he would prepare him to be a slave for him or for every one of his ‘customers’ who were willing to pay…

Then he felt Michael stir and stiffen beside him, his breath hitched and he knew that the kid was awake now. Well – not like planned, but as good as. This way he would get his prize sooner.

With a sickening grin he let his big hand roam over Michaels little petrified body, relishing the feel of his soft skin under his fingers, moving slowly deeper to gather his prize whilst his other hand was busy stroking himself to reach his peak.





*************
*** Today ***

Tears were running down Michael’s cheeks, he felt nauseous again and his chest burnt like fire due to his hard, laboured breathing but his agonized glance was still glued to his own eyes in the mirror, willing himself to get through the painful memories… the first rape… the pain… the humiliation and the guilt… the silent tears… the fear… the ‘others’…



*** Flashback Michael - Pershing Avenue - continued ***
*******************************************************

After the second time Michael stopped fighting… when he didn’t fight it hurt less… so he laid there on this odious big bed, silent tears dropping from his troubled eyes, his gaze fixed on the rough hand beside his head, cramped into the bedding, taking in every detail of it, the lines and little scars, the pores and pigmented moles, the skin darkened from motor oil and grease, the dirty, broken nails… he was thankful for every detail he could find because it helped him shut out the noises his abusers made, their grunting and breathing, their unintelligible mumblings and groaning. And the pain. That terrible, torturous pain.

But as always in life, there was always something worse than the worst… one thing which could top all the bad things which were happening to him… and this one thing had a name. Hank… when Hank was allowed to lay his hands on him it was hell on earth.

Hank was always angry and would hurt him deliberately because he was forced to pay double the price for time with Michael. Hank had ‘damaged’ some of Mr. Roberts boys before… and therefore he was not allowed to do ‘it’ alone.

So when Hank did ‘it’ to him they were always observed by Mr. Roberts and that was worse than anything… to know that somebody was watching what was done to him added insult to injury, each time, killing a little more of his soul.

Afterwards when they finally left him alone he would curl up into a ball and stare at his own little hand, laying motionless beside his face, palm showing upwards, the little fingers slightly curled, so small and thin and white and powerless… wondering, if his own hand would someday look like the other hands… only then he would close his eyes and would retreat into the soothing white room full of numbers… only then would he escape this hell.





*************
*** Today ***

Taking in a shaking breath Michael finally admitted it to himself.

He had been abused.

Not once, not twice… he knew he could recall every single time it had happened, but… there was no need to. It happened. And it was not possible to eradicate it. It had happened, it had formed him and he would have to live with it, would have to deal with it.

And then he remembered finally the day when it all ended. Surprisingly. Abruptly.



*** Flashback Michael - Pershing Avenue - continued ***
*******************************************************

Mr. Roberts had instilled in Michael what to say and what not to say at school and Michael was deeply mired in his little game of guilt, abuse, fear and punishment.

Even if he had found an opportunity to talk to another adult beyond this exclusive circle of paedophiles his lips would have been sealed.

His suffering had lasted 4 weeks now and soon he would return to school.

There had been a visit from his brother and a woman from the child service department, but Michael had been well prepared what to say and what to do and how to react.

He was sure that Lincoln had sensed that something was not quite right but more than anything he didn't want Linc to know his shameful secret.

The visit ‘went well’ and Mr. Roberts had been very satisfied with him.

Michael remembered that he had run into the bathroom just seconds after his brother left and vomited several times.




********************************************

When Mr. Roberts was working or doing some errands he always locked Michael up in a very small room without windows. It had nothing in it except for the boiler and it was pitch black, muggy and dusty.

Sometimes Mr. Roberts forgot to close the kitchen door and then – and only then – some faint light would crawl through under the door. Michael was usually lying on the scruffy floor and didn’t dare close his eyes, to lose the small ray of light… he hated this room, he always felt like it's murky blackness would absorb him, would erase him, would make him undone… Days with the kitchen door closed made him think he could feel the dark nibbling at him – and some day it would devour him completely.

He craved to get out, to see the sun again, to feel fresh air – he craved for it, and he feared it… because that usually meant that Mr. Roberts would get visitors.

But there had been times when Mr. Roberts was out longer than his usual 6 hours for work. As terrible as those long and seemingly neverending hours in the dark were for Michael he came to the opinion that those days would be his only chance, his only hope.

He needed to find a way to break the door open – he would run away.

And so he had carefully collected a nail, a little piece of wire and a wooden spit – he hoped it would work.





**********************************************

As Mr. Roberts shoved him into the room again to go to work he hardly could wait to hear him leave.

The main door closed and immediately he was trying to break the lock from the inside, he had fixed the nail with the wire at the spit and had just inserted this makeshift lock pick in the keyhole as he suddenly heard the entrance door opening again, steps and voices nearing his door...

Filled with horror he quickly hid his tiny tool and turned wide eyed to the door, pricking up his ears to get a hint what was going on.

It seemed Mr. Roberts had got a new ‘customer’ – he could hear them talking about him, the prize and what he was allowed to do with him and what he wasn't.

Michael sat down heavily, feeling desperate and numb again. He would not break out. It would happen again… he would never be free, would never see and feel the sun again…

Then they were right before his door, he could hear Mr. Roberts fiddling with the lock and talking to the stranger.

Absolutely terrified he stared at the door, fearing what would happen when it opened.

And then it happened - finally the door opened, the room was immediately lit up by the harsh light of the single, bare lightbulb dangling from the ceiling.




*******************************************

Michael squinted his sensible eyes and catched a blurry sight of the stranger, staring down at him whilst Mr. Roberts was praising Michael’s attributes.

His sight adjusted and he could see concern etched in the friendly face of the darkhaired stranger, and then… recognition?

What then came happened so quickly that he didnt' even have a chance to move.

The stranger’s face contorted into a grimace of hatred and anger, quick as a snake he turned to Mr. Roberts and grabbed the bigger man by his throat and punched him in the face. A strange sound escaped Mr. Roberts lips, a wince, half-hurt, half-astonished and he stumbled back out of the room, the stranger hot on his heels, the punches never stopped raining down on him, and then the door closed again.

Michael stared in shock at the wooden door, he didn’t understand what was happening.

He could hear the stranger yelling at Mr. Roberts, ‘perverted bastard’ and ‘abusive swine’ and worse names and Mr. Roberts was whining and squealing and the sound of the punches didn’t stop for a long time… and then there was silence outside… deafening silence…

Michael was totally petrified, he barely breathed, his eyes were transfixed at the half closed door, taking in every detail of the old timber, how the light of the bulb was revealing it's grain, where shadows where cast, where little red splatters had appeared after the first punch of the stranger and where they had been thick enough to run down on the surface, clotting almost immediately.

Then his busy brain registered that it was quiet outside, too quiet… and it had been for a while now.

His heart, until now trapped in a haze, started to race. What had happened? Why was it so quiet? Should he run?

Licking his lips he desperately tried to decide what to do.

At the very moment he decided to stand up and run away as fast as his legs could carry him, the door opened again…




*******************************************

The stranger stood at the threshold, looking down at him with a mix of sorrow, concern and guilt, offering him a hand.

“It's okay. You're safe now. He is not going to hurt you anymore.”

Michael’s gaze slowly dropped from the sad, friendly face down to his outstretched hand.

The hand was soft and clean, with neat fingernails and slightly wet like it had just been washed, the dark sleeve of the stranger’s shirt seemed to be wet too, it had big darkened spots on it.

“Michael?” the man asked softly.

Michael blinked and licked his lips, than – slowly and unsecure – he scrambled to his feet and slid his little hand hesitatingly in the big, clammy hand of the stranger.

The man squeezed his hand slightly, reassuringly and led him out of the room, shielding him from the living room with his body.

“Come with me and don't look back.” He stated.

And that was a mistake.

Don’t tell a child what not to do… it’s taken for granted that it will do exactly and immediately what you had just forbid.

It was as if his head was turning against his own will, Michael glanced in the direction he had heard the stranger fighting with Mr. Roberts – and was shocked at the sight of Mr. Roberts lying in a big crimson puddle. The puddle was still sticky and wet and growing larger by the second. His face was a smashed pulp, his eyes wide and bulging out of his head, his body still slightly convulsing with it's last breaths…

Michael froze… and stared… and the stranger stared helplessly at him and didn’t know what to do now – the boy had seen what he never should have seen… guilt washed over him and he felt only tired. Tired and stained with the blood of a paedophile on his hands, still feeling it on his hands although he had washed it off… but it would never disappear, he was sure…

And then Michael's beautiful eyes, which had seen too much brutality and which reminded him so painfully of his beloved Christina, left the dying man on the floor and fluttered at him, their expression full of panic, revulsion and other unreadable emotions. He opened his mouth to say something – anything! – to calm the kid, to make things right, but the words wouldn’t come. They wouldn’t come because there was no way to make it right. Never…

And then Michael turned and ran, ran away from him as if he ran from the devil himself.

“Michael!” he hollered, but the boy was out through the main door and disappeared within seconds.

The stranger blinked disbelievingly for a few seconds down to his empty hand before he came to life and rushed out of the door, desperately searching for his son… but he couldn’t find him.

He had lost him again…








***************************************

Michael had no clue what to do now, where to go… he had not even an idea where he was – after being brought to Mr. Roberts he had never left his house again.

But he didn’t stop… he ran for as long as his legs would carry him and when he felt he couldn’t run any longer he searched for a hideout and crawled behind some stapled fruit boxes and litter cans.

It was a very dirty and smelly place, but he didn’t care… there were no men, no touching hands, no blood, that was all he needed.

Michael curled up into a ball and hid his face in the gap between his pulled up knees and his arms which wrapped around them and sobbed silently.

Where was his mother? He wanted her so badly… he needed her… but she had left him… and Lincoln, too… he was alone… no one loved him… he must have been so bad…

As his sobs ebbed, his brain started to sort out what had happened and Michael tried to stop – but he couldn’t… he couldn’t stop… He relived it all again and again and with each replay his brain filtered out new details and soon Michael was lost in his own world without hearing or seeing what was happening to him…




***************************************

It hadn’t taken long before a neighbour discovered the open front door of Mr. Robert’s house – and the slain body inside.

Police showed up and started to search the crime scene.

The questioning of the neighbours brought either nothing or strange information to light.

It was already late afternoon as Detective Shannon Tanner was sitting in her little office and read all the reports gathered from the officers.

Most of the neighbours had only shrugged and described Mr. Roberts as a ‘queer fellow, very friendly but withdrawn and shy’.

Some had noticed that Mr. Roberts often had visits from other men – never they had seen a woman entering his house.

But just one piece of information could be useful – Shannon frowned and searched for it.

Ah – here it was… from a Mrs. Mildred Davis, an elderly and a slightly dotty woman living in a house opposite Mr. Roberts.

Tucking a red strand of her hair behind her ear Shannon read the report again – it said:

‘I know that Mr. Roberts is a good man, you know? I can’t understand why somebody would do such a terrible thing to him… He has always had a good heart, taking all these poor boys and giving them a good home… and now he has been murdered! I met him outside sometimes and we talked a little, you know? And he told me that some of the boys he had gotten from the Foster Child Center had turned out bad and that he had to send them back after a while…

I told him that he has to take good care of himself, helping others is a good thing but there are always some bad eggs who didn’t want the help and would turn and bite the hand of their benefactor… and that he has to look after himself, too!

But… he only laughed and shrugged… you know?

I know that he has got a new boy… the last had run away, Mr. Roberts had been very upset and concerned…

He always takes good care of them, they don’t hang out at the streets like other children, like the kids of Mrs. Stratten for example, they…

What? Oh… yes, yes… I’m sorry… I’m digressing, I know…

Well – Mr. Roberts boys leave the house only for school… the other time they are studying in their rooms… I’ve never seen one of them outside except for when they go to school…

I feel so sorry for Mr. Roberts… He was such a nice guy…’

And so it went on and on… Luckily, ladies like that lived everywhere … lonesome and bored and observing their neighbours… and woe betide somebody who came to their door and asked questions… those ladies never seemed to stop rambling.....

Shannon smirked a little as she read the signature at the end of the report – Frank Hunter… She almost felt pity for him, but only almost… he deserved more Mrs. Davis talking him into the ground, that’s for sure!

Shaking herself out of her train of thought she frowned again.

Something was not right… So this Mr. Roberts had been a foster father? And he had a new boy?

Where was the boy?

They had found two bedrooms in his house. The smaller one could have been occupied by said boy.

There had been a few neatly folded and stored clothes and a schoolbag, a few scientic books, but no playthings or personal things, in fact it was so tidy in there that she never imagined someone lived there.

But now it seemed as if she was wrong. There must be a boy. But where, and who? What did he look like? What was his name? What happened to him? Maybe he was the murderer? Or had the murderer taken him away?

Question upon question… Shannon could smell a rat, but she couldn’t quite lay a finger upon it now.

She sighed again and skimmed through a little book with phone numbers listed for various social organisations in Chicago, searching for the number of the Foster Child Center, than she turned to the telephone on her desk and dialled the number.

Hopefully they could help her shed some light into the dark…




*********************************

A few minutes later Shannon was on her way to meet Amanda Miller from the Foster Child Center.

What she would find out there would haunt her for the rest of her live.

Mr. Roberts had indeed fostered a child; a boy, 10 years old, Michael Scofield, orphan, one elder brother, Lincoln Burrows who was at the moment serving time in Juvie for theft.

And – like the old Mrs. Davis had said – Mr. Roberts had been a foster father for many years.

Mrs. Miller skimmed through Mr. Roberts file and Shannon could tell that she seemed more and more tense from minute to minute.

After asking what was wrong she was rewarded with silence and then the blonde social worker was licking her lips nervously,

“Well… See, I took over this case file two weeks ago - my predecessor died suddenly with a heart attack and I’m still skimming through his work and trying to find some sense in his system.

And…” she shook her head and her kind brown eyes searched Shannon's with a helpless expression for understanding. She sighed.

“The more I work through those files the more wrongs I find…” she almost whispered and averted her eyes in shame.

Shannon frowned and slipped to the edge of her chair to look directly in the face of the social worker.

“Wrongs? What do you mean?”

And then Amanda started to talk.

“Those files from Mr. Roberts for example… It just doesn't seem right. He got too many foster children in too short intervals.

All boys, all between 8 – 11 years old. All very handsome.

And all seemed to… disappear. Run away.”

Amanda explained with a shaking voice that this usually would have been investigated – what was happening to those boys?

It should have been looked into. He should have had his foster licence revoked, he should have been a suspect, there should have been visits from social workers...... but nothing happened.

Instead of following the usual safety measures her predecessor granted Mr. Roberts a new foster child each time his previous one was announced missing.

A sudden feeling of dread filled both women and they could see understanding flicker over the others' face.

Taking a deep breath Shannon said,

“Ok, that sounds bad. I have a feeling Mr. Roberts may have had some skeletons in his closet. And we have to search for those boys, especially for the last, Scofield.

I need everything you have on them - photos, descriptions, last known relatives… I will start a tracing at once… and… I will send a unit with sniffer dogs back there… ”

The eyes of Amanda grew big, but Shannon sighed and shrugged.

“We have to fear the worst…”




****************************************

They found Michael in the early morning hours, his little body limp, icecold and almost blue, wet from the typical cold drizzle of Chicago.

The kid was staring unseeing into nothingness and none responsive.

The officers who found him called immediately an ambulance and Michael was taken to the Chicago Memorial for further examinations.

He must have fled the house after witnessing the murder of Mr. Roberts clad only in his jeans and a shirt, he was not even wearing shoes.

As Shannon arrived the first results were on hand. She was taken aback at what she found in the report.

She leant wearily against the wall behind her and felt nauseous. What had that bastard done to the little boy?

Composing herself with some effort she stepped closer to the window and peered inside the room at a very pale boy with a shock of black hair and big, turquoise eyes.

He was undeniably an adorable child with beautiful full lips, a fine shaped head and lean. He would turn into a stunning adult, women would fall for him in droves. If he could snap out of it, that was. If he managed to recover not only from his physical but also from his emotional wounds.

Shannon sighed. She watched a nurse carefully and patiently feed him. The child sat in the bed, stiff as a board, his amazing eyes transfixed at the naked wall in front.




*****************************************

A doctor came along, talked to Shannon and entered the room. He talked to the nurse and the nurse shook sadly her head.

The doctor did some tests – but Michael didn’t react.

A short time later the doctor was back with Shannon.

“He’s suffering a trauma, that’s for sure. And I see no possibility of you questioning him, he’s not responding and it would do him no good.

We will transfer him to the psyche-ward and we'll try to get hold of his medical records.

But… I don’t think there's much more we can do for now.

He must start to recover by himself. We can’t push it, we can only sit and wait…”

Shannon nodded, she felt nauseous.

She has seen a lot of suffering in the last few years and was not naive... but to know what had happened to that boy under the eyes of a facility meant to take care of orphans - and apparently to many others before him - made her lose her faith… made her doubt there was any good left in people when children had to suffer like that…



*************
*** Today ***

Michael found himself sitting on the cold tiles of the bathroom floor, he felt ice cold and as if he was drowning.

Again his eyes fell to the dog who hadn’t left his side and who was watching him with concern.

Gasping for air he slung his arms around the dog, burying his wet face in the silken fur, holding on for dear life.

The dog sniffed at him and curled up in his lap, sending warmth and calm into Michael’s freezing body.

Never releasing his hold on the dog Michael finished his painful journey into the past.









*** Flashback Michael - Pershing Avenue - continued ***
*******************************************************

It has taken several days for Michael to find a way back into reality.

He barely talked, he lived in a world of his own, filled with maths and science and topics which couldn’t hurt him…

His LLI was more prominent then ever, the slightest distractions would lure him immediately into a near catatonic state.

Whenever psychologists or police where questioning him about what happened, he didn’t respond.

The case was solved anyway – Detective Shannon Tanner had done a good job, but not a popular one.

In the basement and the garden of the house they had found the bodies of 5 boys, all in different stages of decay, all definitely victims of abuse and seemingly strangled to death.

They had extended their questionings and had interviewed Mr. Roberts colleagues. Joey had a breakdown and confessed and named Hank and Bob (and several other ‘customers’) to the police.

And Mr. Sheldon, the deceased predecessor of Amanda Miller had obviously been bribed generously to turn a blind eye on Mr. Roberts and his boys.

The whole thing was dangerous and would cause a huge uproar – and so it was quickly knocked down and camouflaged by the government.

It was election time and this scandal would harm the re-election of the governour of Illinois and of the mayor of Chicago.

The manipulator – Mr. Roberts – was dead and his circle of customers were convicted and incarcerated; there were no clues to his murderer, the trail was cold as ice.

His only living victim seemed to have lost his memory.

An accident had befallen both Detective Tanner and Amanda Miller while they sat in a street café talking about the case - as 18-wheeler lost control and careered into the customers enjoying the warm sunlight of the wonderful and wind-free weather Chicago was enjoying at the time.

They were killed immediately and several other guests were badly injured.

Sad – but nothing abnormal… accidents happen all the time.

All the files Detective Tanner and Mrs. Miller had worked on disappeared, and so did the patient records about a young boy named Michael Scofield - and anyone else who had worked on the case were either bribed or silenced.

The Company worked quickly and efficiently, the re-election was guaranteed… and so they let the matter rest.

*** End of Flashbacks Pershing Avenue ***
*****************************************



*** Flashback Michael - Rainbow Hills ***
*****************************************

And Michael – after being declared as healthy – was pushed back into the foster system.

But because of his condition and his habit of constantly snapping into his LLI state, Michael was switched around between foster families at an alarming rate.

And soon he was considered ‘un-placeable’.

Not knowing what else to do with him the Foster Child Center started to juggle him between its different orphanages until he ended up in ‘Rainbow Hills’...




*******************************************

In this horrible three years before Lincoln turned 18 and was finally able to get the guardianship for his little brother – it happened.

The other form of abuse. Not sexual… but… physical and mental… and the torment.

The other kids hated him. For being different. For being intelligent. For his angelic face and turquoise eyes with the dark, long eyelashes… ‘Dolly’ and ‘Eyecandy’ had been the nicest names they had called him… ‘Dumbass’ and ‘Retard’ some of the more worse ones…

He had no friends in there. They simply hated him.




*****************************************

Michael did not talk unless an adult or a teacher asked him a question.

Some of the elder kids realized soon that quick movements and noise would force Michael into his ‘weirdo-behaviour’ – and they made a game of it…

Who would get him to act funny the quickest - and how?

And some of the others… used him as punching ball.

How many bloody lips or noses, shiners and bruises he gathered in this time – he didn’t know…

And then there was Tom.

Tom was all brute force – no brain, only hate and muscles and violence was his way of life and he was always surrounded by his henchman.

On one of his first days in the orphanage Michael had been picked on by three elder kids – they were pushing him around, from one to another and got more violent with each shove they gave him.

Finally Michael could not hold up his balance any longer and careered into another kid who had just got his lunch and was holding his food tray.

Both of them tumbled to the ground and the Spaghetti Bolognese was smeared all over the chest and face of the bigger boy.

Of course all other children started immediately pointing and laughing and the big boy growled dangerously and his little piglike eyes were gleaming hatefully.

“You will pay for that, Retard!” he yelled at him whilst two others were helping him to his feet and a third one turned to grasp Michael – but Michael was already on his feet and running away.

“I’ll get you – and then you’re dead meat!” The words hunted him - even in his dreams…

Since that day Michael feared him – and he tried all he could to avoid him.

But finally he ran out of luck.

And that day he earned his scars…







*************************************************

It was late in the afternoon on a cold winter's day and 12 year old Michael had again spent his day in one of the relatively secure places where all the other kids were forced to leave him alone: in the library.

He loved this place…

There were not many books left he had not already held in his hands and some of them he had re-read, even though he knew exactly what was written in them.

But he needed to be here. He loved the smell of the books in the air and it was always warm and friendly in here despite the often cold, windy and rainy weather.

And even if it was sunny and warm outside he couldn’t go out like the others – they would immediately spot him and start their games with him…

No… he loved to be in the library and the librarian Mrs. Winterhoult, a very old and friendly woman, was starting to get extremely myopic and Michael loved to help her sort the books.




*****************************************************

On this particular day he had again helped Mrs. Winterhoult and had almost overseen the time – if he wanted to eat he must hurry, it was already pitch black outside and freezing cold.

He said his goodbye to the old lady and was rewarded with a thankful smile and a soft “good night, Michael” and left the building, instantly shivering in the cold and ducking his head deeply between his shoulders to keep reasonably warm.

In this unnatural posture his sight was extremely limited and so he didn’t realize that Tom and his gang were also on their way back into the orphanage.

And so he didn’t see it coming, the first punch hit him unexpectedly, right behind his left ear. It sent him helplessly to the ground, his ears tingling.

Feeling disoriented and not knowing what had happened, he was grabbed and yanked upright by two of Tom’s henchman and with a painful twitch in his guts he realized that he was screwed.

The cruel and smirking face of Tom appeared in his field of vision and Michael could not avoid a whimper escaping his lips.

“Payday, Retard!” were the last words he heard and then the hard blow of Tom’s fists sent him mercifully into thick, black darkness…




*****************************************************

Next thing he could remember was a sharp pain in his side and a vile taste in his mouth, he winced and tore his eyes open.

He lay down on his back on the icecold floor, the air was mouldy and he was not able to move – he was surrounded by four chairs, his arms and legs were each restrained with… with belts? They had used their belts? - to a chair leg and on top of the chairs sat four of Tom’s toadies, sneering at him.

Michael retched against the gag in his mouth and he again felt a sharp pain in his side as Gonzo – Tom’s right hand man – kicked him with his boot in the side.

“Tom, he’s awake!”

Panic consumed him. He was trapped. He was bound… he was already hurt… his side throbbed and the back of his head felt as if it was three times as big as usual and his ear was burning like fire.

And now he realised that he was almost naked – they had stripped him down to his boxer shorts and the cold of the icy stone floor was sipping into his bones.

Embarrassed he heard the gang laugh about his skinny body and then he could hear footsteps nearing him and the laughter died. The faces of the toadies changed from speechless to shock and than to brainless admiration.

Panting heavily Michael finally got a glance at Tom – at Tom, his gruesome lupine smile and the pocket-knife he was holding

“Like I said before you decided to take a nap – today is Payday for you… and you will always remember it, retard!”

Michael’s nostrils flared as panic rushed through him, his eyes went big and pleading, he shook his head desperately, screaming against his gag with all his might – but it was useless…

Tom kneeled at his side and all he could see was the knife shimmering cold in the sparse light of the single bare lightbulb hanging from the ceiling, his LLI kicked in and again it absorbed with cruelty each single detail surrounding him – the craggedness of the damp stone of the basement, the patterns the damp had formed, the soft sound of dripping water somewhere in the dark to his left, the little droplets of sweat on the forehead of one of Tom’s henchmen, the number of freckles on the nose of another, the stubbles covering Tom’s clenched jaw, the slow circles of the smoke of his cigarette dancing upwards in the cold air, the deep dark gleaming as his pursuer took a long draw, the nervousness in the glances the boys were throwing at each other – and then incandescent pain ripping through his side, he pressed his eyes shut and screamed at the top of his lungs against the gag in his mouth, arching his body and shaking in anguish, tears and snot streaming over his face.

And it didn’t end… time stood still as endless waves of unbelievable agony cursed through his body before finally, finally darkness gained the upper hand and dragged him again into the charity of unconsciousness…





*****************************************************

Michael drifted slowly back into reality and found himself lying in a bed in the little infirmary at the orphanage.

Blinking against his heavy eyelids and dizziness he tried to remember why he was here. Something must have happened – but there seemed to be a big black spot between his leaving Mrs. Winterhoult and his awakening in this warm room.

He tried to sit up and immediately he gasped in pain – his head seemed to swim high above his shoulders and his left side throbbed in agony.

Suddenly the light went on and the old nurse rushed at his side, followed by the Principal and a police officer.

First, Michael couldn’t tell what had happened – thankfully his mind had blanked it all out… and later, after his memories had come back he felt so ashamed that he tried to bury them very deep inside himself… in the darkness within…

But the horror and shame he felt after discovering what Tom had done to him would never leave him.

The burns of the cigarette and the word “RETARD” would be etched forever in his flesh… and in his soul…

*** End of Flashbacks Rainbow Hills ***
***************************************



*************
*** Today ***

Once again Michael returned into reality.

His face was wet and hot and the fur of the dog he still was embracing was wet, too.

With his head bent sideways and the rosy tongue dangling out of his mouth the dog looked with his friendly brown eyes quizzically at Michael, as if to say,

“You’re ok now, human?”

Michael sniffed and a crooked little smile started to tuck at his mouth.

“I’m fine… thanks, boy…” and he patted the shoulder of his companion, and caressed the silky ears and head of the dog.

Closing his eyes the dog seemed to enjoy the sensations Michael's long and elegant fingers were causing.

Then a whistle was heard, the dog's head snapped up and the dog looked between the open door and Michael to and fro.

“Go boy, your mistress calls…” Michael encouraged him and with a jump and flying ears the dog left him and stormed out of the room, the clicking sound of his claws getting quieter and quieter.

Gritting his teeth Michael came sluggishly to his feet and pressed his hand at his side.

Then he looked in the mirror again.

He still looked badly beaten and the tears, red face and puffy eyes didn’t make it better… but… he looked over at his image… something had changed…

The look in his turquoise eyes seemed to be a little less haunted.

Michael drew a deep breath and nodded to himself.

He couldn’t change the past. But he could change his future. And he would start with it today. Now.

With a new determination, he washed his face and changed into the spare clothes Kat had provided. They were a bit loose and he felt strange in them but it would do…

One last look in the mirror then he turned around and headed down into the kitchen, to Kat and her formidable dogs and a hearty breakfast.
End Notes:
I'm so sorry for putting Michael through all of this... but I think it's important...
Please - don't kill me - write me review's instead and let me know what you think, good or bad, all is welcome!

Thanks for reading... :)
Chapter 18 - On the move - Part 1 by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
Hi there! :)

It takes me longer to update here because you all have catched up with my writing so far... but... I will promise this: MiSa is imminent...

Only a few more chapters, and... well... we will see what will happen in between and... then! *g*

Thanks for all who are sticking with me and my story...

Ah - and I almost forgot - this Chapter comes in two Parts... ;)
.
*********************
On the move – Part 1
*********************

The news of the sighting of Theodore Bagwell and his victim had spread like wildfire.

Who had tipped off the reporters was not known, but Sheriff Myers longed to know who it was – he would come down on that fucking git like a ton of bricks.

To have the FBI and Secret Service running around like angry hornets and challenging all and everything was bad enough… but to have hundreds of adventurers, bounty hunters, sensation-seeking idiots swarming around added insult to injury.

Hell – there were even fans and admirer’s of that crazy shithead Bagwell out there!

Fifteen minutes ago when he had stepped out of the building for lunch he had ran into a woman who actually was crazy enough to ask him where she could find Bagwell – she wanted to marry him!

Tiredly he buried his face in his hands. Since this whole circus had started he had not slept, his shift had in fact ended a few minutes after Kat’s call yesterday. Now it was midday again, he had been on his feet for over 37 hours.

It hadn’t taken long for the FBI to arrive – of course they took command immediately and were arrogantly bossing him and his boys around.

Dammit, they had even made their headquarters in his office!

He gritted his teeth and took some deep breaths..… if he didn’t calm down his stomach ulcer would kill him – in the truest sense of the word.

Another sigh escaped him and he grabbed for his coffee mug – decaffeinated, of course – and thought about what had happened in the night.

After Kat’s report he had immediately called Sinclair, who described one of his guests so well it could only be Bagwell.

With a heavy feeling of dread Sheriff Myers had mobilized all of his boys available – and they drove to Sinclair’s motel.

Who had started the siren’s he couldn’t tell and by the time he became aware of them – it was too late.

Bagwell had been warned and had fled and the FBI and Secret Service assholes were kicking his ass for that now… on the other hand the sound of the sirens had been the only thing that had saved that poor girl from being raped and killed.

But… what Bagwell had done to her so far… she would forever be tainted… her body would heal, but her soul and psyche would wear those scars forever.

He was sure that he never would forget the haunted and terrified expression in her brown eyes.

Until now she hadn’t spoke a word… They didn’t know her name or from where the girl had come. So he had actually a Jane Doe in his town.

Whenever one of the FBI-Agents had tried to talk to her she started crying and shaking miserably.

They had no idea what to do with her and the arranged transport into an asylum at Salt Lake City would arrive at the earliest tomorrow afternoon. He disliked the idea of putting her into one of his cells – so he had brought her to his own home, under the care of his family.

He sighed again and thought of his own girls at home… Hannah was now 17 and Emma 15 years old – they were his pride and joy.

What would he have done if it has been one of them… his heart throbbed painfully at the thought.

No… he couldn’t think like this any further.

They were safe and sound, Hannah would turn 18 in a few months – and then she would marry…

For the first time in hours a smile bloomed on his face.

She would marry Cody Larsson, his most-promising deputy - and actually his stepson.

After the death of his wife Evelyn 6 years ago he had found a new love in Fiona Larssen – a widow with two children, the 17 year old Cody and his 9 year old sister Emma.

After some teething troubles they had grown into a loving and caring family… and Cody and Hannah had fallen in love. The boy was now 23 years old and when Hannah turned 18 both of them had his blessing to make the bond.

He was so proud of Cody too – and to know that he would get that fine young man as son-in-law had been the cherry on the cake.

And Emma was so happy for Cody and Hannah – she was already planning their wedding with tons of pink, lavender and lilac.

Still smiling he sipped the last mouthful of coffee, thanked Irmy with a nice tip and left the little diner to return to his office. Well – to his department at least.

But he was now in a better mood. Thinking of his wonderful family always was the best way for him to get happy.

And it was time to call at home and ask Fiona about their nameless guest. Hopefully she had recovered a little with those warm and nice-hearted women around her…




****************************************

He sat in his car and twiddled with the buttons of the radio. A few minutes ago he had lost the radio signal, but finally he found it again and a smirk crept over his brawny features.

Listening intently to the communication of the police radio he could hardly wait for his partner to return with coffee and some breakfast.

They were so close… he knew it… he could smell it… he couldn’t get them all, that was clear, but T-Bag would be a good start, and they would be doubly rewarded when they bought that pervert down.

A movement in the corner of his eye caught his attention - finally Roy was emerging from the little diner, loaded with some paperbags and two hot java’s in his hands, fighting with the door and his balance, almost dropping the disposable styrofoam mugs.

Bellick derisively rolled his eyes – an opportunity to get rid of the twat would hopefully come soon or he would lose his temper… he hated that guy… him and that bunch of convicts, they had stolen him his career, his pride… his purpose in life…

He gritted his teeth and red fury filled him.

His jaw still was hurting like hell from the kick Scofield had landed on his face a few days before - if he only could lay hands on the scrawny neck of Scofield… he would love to rip his stinking tattooed skin from him… he would let him pay for mocking his authority back in Fox River, for stealing his beloved cap from his head, for stripping him to his underwear and leaving him in those damn rat-contaminated tunnels below of the prison… for fooling him and making a mockery of him!

He would pay and in the end he would whimper for mercy, he would beg to die…

…but… he drew a big breath and tried to calm down.

That was not the plan…





****************************************

The plan was to get Scofield and T-Bag alive… the others? They would only be the icing on the cake… dead or alive didn’t make any difference because they would still get the bounty from the government.

But where Scofield and T-Bag were concerned… their ‘sponsor’ had given them precise instructions what to do with them. They had to be alive and the agreed sum would be doubled for them.

It was relatively easy to follow T-Bag on his trail of bodies through the states – a leopard doesn’t change it's spots, not even on the run; maybe especially not on the run. Under so much pressure, he would need an outlet - hell, he didn’t even have any of his usual toy-boy’s at his command.

Life out of prison must actually be very hard for T-Bag to cope with, he thought, a vile grin in his face.

They had found the car of his first victim – Dr. Marvin Gudat – at a petrol station in Friend, Nebraska.

From there the trail had lead to a man named Jerry Curtin and his daughter Danielle – they had been crazy enough to let T-Bag into their car and had been rewarded with molestation, several broken ribs and a re-modelled face.

Bellick shrugged and snorted – that idiot had to thank god that the cute ass of his little daughter was still breathing and a virgin – and that he still was alive.

There were not many men who were able to tell about an escape from a run in with T-Bag…

But this idiot had a good information for them – T-Bag was still running towards Utah – and as far as they knew Scofield and the others where hunting in that direction too, to gather those 5 million dollars of Westmoreland.

Bellick greedily licked his lips. Hard to believe that this old wrinkled wreck in fact had been the famous D.B. Cooper! If he only had known he would have snatched the secret away from him sooner!

After that, they had almost lost track but now T-Bag had done it again – he had put a cat among the pigeons, had tried to rape a young girl here in that one-horse town in Utah… and they were back on his track.

From what he could hear from the police radio, they had found much blood in that motel room and it seemed it was not only blood from the girl - it seemed T-Bag had some fun with two other males before… and one of them had escaped, blood smears and fingerprints had led out of an opened window.

Now they were waiting for the specialist to compare the fingerprints.

Geary was entering the car and handed a steaming mug of coffee to Bellick. He struggled to put the paperbags down and get himself and refresments into the car.

Rolling his eyes again Bellick snapped the coffee without a word and sipped on it.

“…found out who this Kat is and where she lives?” he mumbled through his mouthful of hot coffee.

Finally settled, Geary turned to him, red-faced from the heat and with sweat running down his round cheeks.

“Yeah, that was easy, she lives about 6 miles out of town on a farm, alone with dogs… she saw T-Bag and called the police, in fact she’s now something of a local hero, her call saved that girl.”

Bellick laughed nastily,

“T-Bag must be pissed – first he couldn’t get a hit on Danielle, another of his victims escaped through the window and now some old frump blasts his romantic tryst with that nameless bitch… I wished I would have seen his face when…”

His eyes grew big and he stopped in mid-sentence, moving his hand so quickly to turn up the volume that he spilled some of his coffee and scalded his fingers. But he didn’t even notice it – a big sneer stretched his face and he mumbled “Win – win – win!” in a galling singsong voice.

Geary looked totally dumbstruck down at the radio unit, his chin dropped literally at his chest.

***Attention at all units, I repeat – attention at all units: The fingerprints of the escaped victim have been identified as Michael Scofield! He’s one of the escaped convicts and is deemed to be armed and dangerous… if you get sight of him call immediately…***

Still grinning from ear to ear Bellick started the car and said,

“Sounds like Scofield finally got what was coming to him… but hopefully he’s still alive – Scofield is no use to us if he's pegged out somewhere in the desert!”

Geary nodded and laughed unconfidently. “Yeah, you’re right, Bellick!”

Driving slowly out of the parking space Bellick answered,

“Okay, let’s drive to the old woman and let’s hear what she has to say… maybe we can kill two birds with one stone…”





****************************************

They hadn’t been the only one with the idea of eavesdropping on the police…

All he needed to do was find a good hideout and wait like a spider in its web – and all would fall into place, all would come to him.

It always did.

The young man in the police car didn’t know what was coming down on him.

He had stopped to announce to his headquarters that he had found an abandoned and broken down car – but even before he could speak one single word Teddy’s fist which was clenching a stone connected with a dull sound with his temple and the officer rolled his eyes skywards and slumped down thunderstruck.

Teddy restrained him and threw him like a sack of flour onto the backseats, jacked his own car expertedly up to the tow hook of the patrol car and drove quickly deeper into the desert, away from the highway.

Miles away he found a canyon surrounded by bizarre rock formations – it was perfect.

Firstly he opened the door and kicked the still unconscious officer out of the car into the hot sand, then he lowered his car from the hook and shoved it down into the parched river bed, watching with interest at it's haphazard and violent way down before it finally crashed into the big rocks on the ground.

Red dust flew up into the air, but the car was out of the way – Teddy was satisfied.

But now – he had a guest and he didn’t want to be rude – it was time to take care of him.

He returned to the patrol car and eyed the child.

And he was a beautiful boy ...... what a pity he hadn’t had enough time to get rid of that painful boner he had been carrying around since yesterday.

It had vanished while he had escaped but then… laying there, waiting for a chance – it was sweet agony. After all, twice in the last 24 hours, he had been on course to reach a peak and twice it had backfired.

He gnawed at his bottom lip. Thinking hard. Evaluating. Listening to his body, to his needs. Eying again the young man stirring and moaning at his feet.

He really was in certain need now – and there was no time for release. And that was bad. Not only for him, but for everything else that would meet him further along the road.

Yet there he was… that young, pretty officer, looking so fancy and hot in his uniform… he was tall, tanned, with spikey blonde hair and broadchested… and his nice green eyes were no longer closed. Licking his lips Teddy relived the sudden and delicious fear which had filled the boy the second before his fist had connected with his temple.

Now he was laying sprawled in the sand, restrained by his own handcuffs - like a fish on land, staring up at him with the amusing fear in his eyes, his oh so red blood dripping languidly from his forehead onto the hot and thirsty desert soil… his eyes were slightly clouded and he shook his head to clear his sight.

Maybe there was time… if not now – when?





****************************************

Smirking down at him Teddy skimmed through the wallet of the boy – and came up lucky… A feral grin spread his lips and he hunkered down beside him, searching for eye contact.

He wanted that every one of his words would fall into fertile ground, he wanted to savour the fear and despair his newest victim was emanating.

If there was no time and opportunity to entertain his full programme he would just sample the pleasures of what he could get.

“Soooo…. Cody… not ya luckiest day I dare to say?” The tip of his tongue sneaked out of his mouth and bent upwards to lick droplets of sweat from his upper lip, the eyes of the boy following this movement as if his eyes were glued to it, but he remained silent.

“But – the way I see it I’ve hit da jackpot… how old are ya? 23? Mmmmmh… could be younger, but ya will do… I’m a bit needy right now, ya know? My musket needs to be fired… and dat’s where ya come into my ‘lil game…

And…. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww….. what’s dis?”

He retrieved a picture and looked at it, his eyes gleaming up, his mouth dilating in a vile grin, his face changing and darkening in unconcealed lust.

Teddy turned the picture with the images of two laughing girls – one red, one brunette - so that Cody could look at it. Cody’s eyes grew big, sheer horror flickered across his face.

“No… please… don’t…” he chocked out, but Teddy shook extremely and in a mocking manner his head, clicking his tongue.

“Tsk tsk tsk - so sorry, cutie pie… I may not have time for ya sweethearts now – but be assured… I’ll take my time for them later… as much time as they earn… and those pretty girls earn much quality time with da good ol’ Teddybear… those flowers are begging for being plucked."

His grin darkened even more and like he had done it back in Fox River he took the picture shortly between his lips, moving his jaw provokingly, the obscenity and vile promise of this gesture was not lost to Cody and he gulped audibly and fought hard against the handcuffs.

Satisfied with this reaction Teddy removed the picture from his lips and stared longingly at it again.




****************************************

“Tell me about these ‘lil treasures of yours… da red head is curvy, got flesh in all the right places… but da brunette blossom seems to match exactly my gusto, so young ‘n sweet…” Teddy purred hoarsely.

“How young is she? 14? 15? Sweeeeeeeeeeeeet freshwater, waiting for me to get her tainted… nothing goes above a wild ride to break a ‘lil virgin – don’t ya agree with me?”

Cody pressed his eyes shut and a harried moan escaped his lips.

Again that unnerving clicking sound,

“Tsk tsk tsk… ya really tempting ya fate now, toy boy… “

He turned the picture and now his face lit up in a wide Cheshire cat like grin…

“Oooohhhh…. Now what do we have here? ‘In love, always yours – Hannah and Emma’.

Toy boy, I’ve underestimated ya – y’re popping two girls at da same time?”

Cody’s eyes flew open,

“Don’t dare talk about them like that!” he growled, his green eyes shooting daggers at the older man.

Teddy laughed throatily, then stopped abruptly and grabbed Cody by his uniform and yanked him upwards, his face contorted in anger and his spittle sprayed in Cody’s face as he drawled,

“Noooo… Don’t dare me, lil’ boy! Who do ya think that ya be? Posing like a real man in dis uniform? Ya only a lil’ boy in a nice costume playin’ an adults part in da upper league…”

He slammed him forcefully against the bonnet of his car and Cody could feel his wrist break underneath his own weight and whimpered in pain.

Teddy whispered menacingly,

“Tell ya what, toy boy – I’ve da address of yours… I’ve da names… I don’t need ya – I’ll find ‘em… and now I’ll show ya what I’ll do to them… I’ll catch da lil’ dark one, restrain her and strip her down to her Eve’s costume… and then I’ll catch da redhead and will show da lil’ one what will come to her… and it will be a long time coming for them… and when I’ve finished da redhead I’ll throw da lil’ one atop her dead body and I’ll give her what she needs…”

He moved his head and tongue in an obscene gesture, revelling in the horrified look of the young man,

“I’ll bang her ‘til she screams - again ‘n again ‘n again – ‘til she’ll stops movin’… and a wee bit longer…”

Now totally aroused and panting heavily Teddy stared lustfully at Cody - and decided to end it here and now… there was no time for long games… but he needed it… needed it so badly…

It was a pity – the boy was good material and it would have been fun to form him – but a quick release was better than once again having nothing to fuck.




****************************************

And so Teddy gave in into his carnal desire, he raped and violated the young man with brute force, liking that there was no need to gag his victim – no one could hear his screams out there, no one could tell...

For the first time in years he could utterly enjoy with all his senses what it was like to lay hand on somebody… no stifled screams in a cushion or against a gag – Cody was screaming at top of his lungs and it turned him even more on to hear those sobbed and pained cries undisguised resounding through the dry and glistening heat of the desert.

He might be under pressure, yes… But he would not be Teddy if he couldn’t adjust with the situation and so he made the best of it: he intensified his effort on the boy to equalize this lack of time, he violated him with more brutality than ever to feed his inner beast, to saturate it, to silence it…

When he finally came to his senses again he was panting hard, still wrapped up into the tangled and bloody mess his victim had become and he was staring in the broken and lifeless eyes of Cody, already slightly covered with the lactic sheets of death.

Grunting and satisfied he let go of the body, stretched himself and rolled his head on his shoulders… It has been a long time since he had felt this free and alive.

Throwing one last look at the body he couldn’t resist and bent down to lick some ruby droplets from the formerly beautiful face in a kinky way to savour this moment, closing his eyes and licking and gnawing his lips with an expression of total bliss on his bloodsmeared face…

Teddy sighed – now he had to deal with the reality again. He changed into Cody's clothes – which were very loose but better then nothing – and grinned as he patted his newly earned and loaded handgun.

His glance fell again to the dead body laying at his feet. He shrugged and did what usually was done with broken toys – he got rid of Cody’s remains, dumped him in the parched river bed near his car.

Then he returned to the patrol car and skimmed through Cody’s wallet and checked the picture of the girls, the badge and the ID of the boy. He smiled evily – the badge could be useful, that was for sure.

Teddy turned the police radio on and listened to the radiotraffic. He knew that he had not much time before they realised the boy was missing but.......

He gasped.

They knew Pretty had been with him!

Now they would double their efforts and skim through every mousehole to lift them out. He must vanish, as quickly as possible.

He reached out and searched through the glove box. As expected there was a big and detailed map of the area.

Studying the map he sighed impatiently. To get out of this hellhole here he must almost drive back into Lyndyll… almost… those damn canyons and river beds made it impossible to make a beeline for the Interstate 15.

Muttering under his breath he started the car and drove back to Lynndyl, hoping that the police car, his uniform and hat would be enough to disguise him.

Only the already fading droplets of blood and the fine lines of skid marks in the sand laid testament to what had happened here. But after the dust of the leaving car had settled, the hot desert wind took care of them and soon they were covered with sand completely - vanished as if they had never existed.

Sand and rocks glared unimpressed by the spectacle of human bestiality in the sun, bright in luscious tones of red, orange and ocker, mute witnesses of a crime which had until now been unprecedented in this lonesome part of Utah.




****************************************

Kat was up and on her feet like every day about one hour before sunrise; the fact that she had got a surprise guest last night and had stayed up late - first to patch him up and than to comfort him and watch with him the night go by until he felt secure enough to settle down - didn’t change her routine.

And Kat could cope with very little sleep, being alone on a farm with cattle, horses and dogs was a guarantor of that – neither of them had their offspring to plan and all of them seemed to prefer the dark and silent hours of the night…

So she had rested for about 2 hours before she started her morning work.

She had already made her round through the stables and had fed the horses and dogs and had refilled the troughs for the cattle outside. The watertanks were full and even her problem child from the latest litter of dogs was bright as a button and had finally started to feed independently.

Thorn, who had vanished awhile - to be with her guest, that’s for sure – had returned a few minutes before, but only after she had called for him.

Kat laughed at the guilty expression on the dog’s face – he managed to look down his long nose sheepishly.

He knew that she didn’t like the dogs to be in the sleeping rooms, but she had the feeling that the presence of the big dog had been soothing for Michael so she had turned a blind eye to Thorn - this time.





****************************************

A short time later Michael stepped into the kitchen and wished her a good morning.

Thorn immediately jumped to his feet to greet Michael, fawning over him and waiting patiently for Michael to stroke his ears.

Michael laughed softly, a warm and smooth sound from deep within and knelt down beside the dog, addressing himself eagerly to this task, his long elegant fingers caressing the silken fur of the dog and his amazing turquoise eyes sparkled with amusement and joy when Thorn closed his eyes and sighed in contentment.

Kat smiled. She had read this kid right. Thorn liked him and obviously trusted him and that was enough for her.

“Here’s your coffee, Michael. And on the table you’ll find bread, cheese and bacon, if you like.”

“Thanks so much, Kat… for everything.” He said quietly and smiled.

It was a nice little smile, Kat thought. It suited him – he should smile much more.

It played around the corner of his mouth and gave him the look of a mischievous little boy who tried to get a cookie from the cookie jar even though he knew it was not quite right.

“You look better today – how do you feel?” She asked him.

Michael’s smile slipped from his face, he patted Thorns shoulder, stood up and stepped to the table, sat down, sugared his coffee and added milk. Than he stirred the steaming hot brew and seemed to retreat into himself, his greenblue stare a thousand miles away.

Hesitantly that sweet smile returned and he answered,

“Fine, thanks. Very stiff, every movement hurts and my head is still throbbing, but thanks to your help I feel much better than yesterday.”

Kat sensed that Michael somehow was different today.

Of course he felt a bit better than yesterday and at the same time his injuries would hurt more, but… that was not all.

Seemingly he had come to terms with himself, he didn’t appear as torn and desperate as only a few hours before. She wondered what had caused that change… But she liked this more relaxed young man – and to see him in the old clothes of her youngest son Jimmy made her smile.

“It’s fine, I’m happy that I could help.” She reassured him.

Michael sipped at his coffee and thought about his plans today, stroking Thorns head beneath the table automatically.

“Uhm… Kat? Where do you think it’s safe to meet my brother? I really don’t want him to come here to your house, if somebody recognizes him you will get in trouble. And that’s not how I want to thank you for your help…”

Kat smiled at him,

“Well – that’s a topic I wanted to talk about with you anyway. I’ve talked to a friend in town a few minutes ago – and we have a problem, Michael.”




****************************************

Michael’s head jerked up and he looked at her with an alarmed expression in his eyes, setting his coffee mug at the table with a clang.

“Easy… it’s just that it would be to dangerous now for your brother to come to Lynndyl.

Like you feared this Bagwell has escaped somehow… but…”

Kat sighed and searched eyecontact with Michael. “It seems like he had a young woman with him. I don’t know the details but if you hadn’t told me about him and if I hadn’t called Sam the girl would have been raped and murdered. But she got off lightly – she’s badly beaten, but it seems like he hadn’t had enough time to… do much worse things to her… the sirens obviously chased him off…”

Michael’s hands started trembling and he buried his face in them, a deep moan escaping his lips,

“God, not again…”

Kat watched him closely, than she reached for one of his slender hands and squeezed it.

“You think it’s your fault that he had hurt that girl?”

Breathing heavily Michael only nodded, fighting against tears.

“That’s nonsense, Michael. Stop thinking this. That man is… a carnivore. He only thinks with his appetite – and there was nothing you could have done.

Except maybe not running away. Staying there. And then you would be dead by now. And only god knows how many would have to follow you because he would have escaped unrecognized… but you got away, you fought for your life, you told me and we called for help – and that girl is alive and with luck they will catch him now.

Now they are hot on his heels – thanks to you. But I’ve heard Lynndyl is swarmed with FBI and additional police.”

Michael sniffed and wiped his face with his sleeve – wincing at the contact with his battered flesh.

She was right. Somehow. But… on the other hand… if he hadn’t…

He growled, his antagonistic feelings worsening his headache.

Michael forced himself to breathe, to take deep gulps of air, to cool down. Now was not the time to get lost in guilt again – he would have to deal with it later.

Inhaling deeply he looked up, tried a crooked smile and nodded thankfully,

“Yeah – maybe you’re right.” he mumbled, sounding unconvinced.

One last reassuring squeeze on his hand, then she stood up,

“Eat and drink, Michael. Here are some more painkillers for you. We will have to go soon. I’m sure it wan’t take long before those FBI guy’s will come to visit me and ask me about my sighting. And we should be away before they come.

My property is huge and I can get you out of here without driving through Lynndyl.”

She shrugged,

“Anyway, it’s time for me to check the fences on the other side… so I will drive you through the canyons and we can avoid the main streets until we reach the Route 15 at Nephi. It will take us a long time to cross the desert and the canyons, but… well… it’s a chance…”

She filled him in with the details of the meeting point she had in mind.

Michael sighed again,

“Whatever you say, Kat… thanks so much, I –“

“--- don’t know how to thank you, I know, Michael…” she finished the sentence for him and smiled with sparkling eyes.

“No need to, really. I can see that you have your heart in the right place, you’re a good man. Just… stay alive, stay out of danger and take good care for the ones you love.”

Kat stretched out her hand and laid the phone beside him, then she patted his shoulder amicably and left the kitchen.




****************************************

Michael stared into nothingness for a few seconds, her words replaying in his brain.

Finally he turned and took a piece of bread, some cheese and bacon and tucked in.

Chewing was quite painful, but he didn’t care. At the very first bite of food, he realised how starving he was.

Thorn looked hopefully up to him, but Michael shook his head.

“Sorry, boy… I’m sure your mistress would not like me to feed you from the table…”

A deep sigh emerged the dog like he would say ‘Yaaahhh… I know…’ and he lowered his head back down on his paws in resignation, feigning sleep.

Michael laughed softly and took his used dishes and put them into the kitchen sink.

His glance fell on the phone Kat had left for him and quickly he called his brother and informed him about the situation.

Then he stretched his aching body, rolling his stiff muscles and winced slightly.




****************************************

Kat returned,

“It’s all prepared, I’ve packed some more food and water bottles and some more clothes for you. Oh – and I’ve found this in your ruined shirt as I just was disposing it.”

She slipped the bloodsmeared roll of banknotes into his hands.

Michael opened his mouth but Kat spoke up before he could say a word.

“No, I don’t want it, Michael. I have enough, and I don’t want anything for my help. I’m happy that I could help… and now let’s go, it’s getting hotter out there and I have no idea when the police will show up.”

She whistled shortly,

“Thorn, Timbo!” and a blonde and red blurr sped to them, nudging their heads against their mistress and fawning enthusiastically.

They left the house and both dogs hurried ahead and jumped on the cargo area of the jeep and looked full of expectation at Kat.

Kat chuckled “They love to make a trip” and closed the door.

Michael realized that Kat only pulled the door into the lock, but she didn’t lock it up.

Kat registered his questioning look and shrugged,

“No need to lock up here – it’s not like I live in a big town full of thieves and mad men, you know.”

Michael nodded,

“Yeah, I know that… but remember that T-Bag is running around…”

Kat looked up at him, thought over it for one moment and then shrugged again,

“That’s right… but I simply have no keys… we never needed one out here… so… it’s fine. Don’t worry…”

She turned and climbed into her car, Michael sighed and followed, gritting his teeth to prepare himself for the inevitable stab of pain when he forced his muscles to work and his body to climb up, shielding carefully his sore ribcage; when he closed the door behind him and sunk down on the seat he exhaled with a hissing sound the breath he had been holding.

Kat flashed a concerned look at him, but he forced a smile for her and nodded.

“I’m fine, let’s go…”

Only seconds later they left the farmhouse and drove north-easterly towards inhospitable terrain to find a loophole for him to slip through the line of his chasers.




****************************************

Linc dropped of C-Note at a car dealer. They had shared one last look, a handshake and a nod – there was nothing left to say, all farewells had been taken care of half an hour ago at Angel’s Grove.

With his baseball cap deep down on his face and lost in thoughts he was now on his way to his brother.

Linc was concerned. He couldn’t believe his luck that his baby brother had escaped T-Bag in one piece! Had he? Really?

Linc sighed and licked his lips.

He would see…

He nearly jumped in surprise as his cell phone rang and answered it cautiously,

“Yeah?”

“Linc, it’s me. Have you heard the news?”

Lincoln looked in alarm at radio – he hadn’t put it on after entering the car, he had been too deep in his thoughts.

“Hey Mikey – uhm… no. What’s up?”

Michael frowned a bit – Linc should be more careful, they were far from safe.

“After I escaped T-Bag it seems he abducted a girl and…” Michael sighed and Linc could literally feel the wave of guilt surging through the line.,

“She’s alive, thank god, but T-Bag escaped again and now the place is flooded with FBI and Police… it would be suicide if you come to Lynndyl to meet me...”

“Damn it!” Linc muttered under his breath. “What now?”

“Change of plans… Kat will smuggle me out of town and we will meet in Spanish Fork… that will take you in about 1 hour and 30 minutes, our turn is much longer… Kat says there’s a park outlying, called Canyon View Park. There's a good meeting point, its parking space is huge - from there we can drive directly onto the US-6…”

Linc tapped the new coordinates into his GPS.

“Mmh – I see… ok. Be careful bro.”

“You too – see you there.”

“Bye!”

Linc shut the phone and blew his breath loudly through his lips. That was close…




****************************************

At first they hadn’t talked much. They were just content to know the other was here, at their side.

Most of the time Nikki’s small hand rested comfortably on Paul’s thigh, covered by his big hand, his warmth seeping into her fingers, spreading through her whole body, filling her with luck, safety – and desire.

From time to time his long fingers moved slightly and caressed her skin, and everytime she had to bite her lower lip to avoid a deep, guttural moan escaping her, her fantasy jumping forward and multiplying his little, loving ministration, propelling them forward into days and nights full of lovemaking.

Everytime his hand left hers to turn the steering-wheel or change gear she felt bereft and fought against the urge to catch it, to pull it to her heart, to kiss it.

'Now is not the time!' she scolded herself for the umpteenth time since Sara had teased them softly.

She sighed.

Paul turned slightly to look at her,

“Everything ok?” He asked quietly, lifting his hand from hers to run one digit tenderly over her cheek, spreading goosebumps all over her skin in the aftermath of his touch.

Now Nikki turned in her seat to face him, a brilliant smile at her lips.

“Yes… I’m fine…”

Their eyes locked, electricity flew between them, Nikki’s heart started to race and Paul had difficulties in thinking straight, lost in her beautiful blue eyes.

With effort he shook himself out of his dangerous daze and concentrated on the dark road again.

“Whoah – Sweetheart…” he swallowed hard, longing for the sweet taste of her soft mouth on his,

“We need to stop that or it will end badly…” his voice was throaty with need and desire.

Nikki chuckled softly, remembering her almost deadly daydream only a few hours before.

“Hmmm… I think you’re right…” she sighed adjusting her small body in the bigger space of their new car.





****************************************

They had changed the car in Glenwood, about one hour after they left Gila. Again they drove a SUV and had settled Sara down as comfortably as possible in the backseat.

Sara had woken when Paul had lifted her carefully up to move her into the new car - and she had been acting… well… strangely.

She was somehow agitated, constantly tapping with her fingers and shuffling her feet and she seemed to be in a kind of funny mood.

Nikki had never experienced Sara behaving this strangely before – she was on the one hand very anxious and on the other too happy; she was slightly drawling and giggling, her movements were unstable and erratic.

But she had enough common sense to write down the name of an antibiotic and some other medical supplies she would need and Nikki had sent Paul into an 24/7 pharmacy – at least Paul was the only member of their little party who was not officially wanted right now.

At the petrol station in Glenwood, Paul insisted on buying a hot cup of soup and several water bottles – Sara would need it to restore the blood loss, he declared.

Nikki felt for her friend – she looked pretty disgusted but gulped it all down, acknowledging that Paul was right.

But… what was up with her?

Sara was shaking slightly and started to talk like a waterfall – making some very biting, filthy and personal remarks about Nikki and Paul, about herself and her hopes and dreams according Michael as well.

Nikki was a little taken aback and slightly embarrassed, but Paul – who had feigned being an addict and who had studied the books - recognized Sara’s current state and tried to explain it to her; Nikki was shocked – hopefully the pain killers would not endanger Sara’s chances of success in her fight against the addiction.

But there was nothing what they could do now… the damage was done… and how should have Sara stitched herself up without a pain-reducing med?

After about 40 minutes of surprising and adventurous insights into Sara’s thoughts and feelings she had finally fallen asleep again and Nikki had relaxed a little…

And before she knew it she had started a light conversation with Paul.

What he liked and what not, movies, restaurants and so on. They had shared some banter and it had warmed her heart everytime when he laughed about something she said.





****************************************

Sara was jazzed.

She felt so light-headed and giddy – not only because of the blood loss, no… she was now fully aware that the pain killers she had taken had been a bad choice because of her drug addiction.

She could feel her body craving for… more… for another shot… or maybe a drink?

The shaking had returned and she balled her fingers angrily into a fist, at the same time giggling over the tingling in her fingers.

God… now she fought against tears… she hated this feeling… she hated it when she longed for morphine, for painkillers, for alcohol… at the moment she would take anything she could get her hands on if she could only make the shaking disappear…

Sara hoped with all her heart that she could cope with the possible consequences of taking them, that she would remain strong and would not fall back into her addiction.

The antibiotics were okay, she had chosen a preparation which would hopefully do the least damage to her fragile condition.

But the mix of the painkillers AND the antibiotic in her system made her feel wasted.

She bit her lower lip. No. There was no way she would give in to it, she had fought too long and too hard to stay away from drugs – except the night she had the door left open for Michael… Taking the painkillers had been a big mistake, but she hadn’t thought about the problems it could cause.

She had been so lost in agony and panic; in that moment it seemed right to take something against the throbbing pain in her arm, especially as she had to stitch herself up without any anaesthetic.

But still – had it really been the lesser evil?

A sudden wave of nausea washed over her and Sara gritted her teeth and focused on breathing.

She knew that she had embarrassed Nikki a few minutes ago – somehow she was constantly bubbling and couldn’t stop herself and had made some filthy comments… and if she remembered rightly not only about Nikki and Paul – no… about Michael too.

She could feel herself blushing deeply – it was one thing to know as a doctor what painkillers could do to an addict and to know that all she said had been caused by the painkillers in her system, but not to be able to stop those crazy comments slipping through her lips – uh no… Hopefully Nikki would understand…

Sara closed her eyes – maybe she could simply vanish…

She sighed… she hated always being the realistic one… maybe she could just sleep it out…




****************************************

Now they sat in contented silence, Nikki’s hand again wrapped into Paul’s bigger one, his thumb stroking her fingers when a soft moan from the back seats prompted Nikki to frown and turn her head to check on Sara.

Her friend was in an uneasy slumber, she could tell from her tossing and turning, her lean hands cramped in the blanket covering her long frame, her face contorted in a mask of pain and fear, shaking her head, whimpering silently.

“Excuse me a moment.”

Nikki squeezed Paul’s hand, opened her seat belt and climbed into the back of the car, Paul’s glance was glued in the back mirror at the delicious sight of her delicate butt.

Then she sat down beside Sara, took her cold and clammy hand in hers and stroked her soothingly at her face,

“Shhh… Hun… it’s all ok, you’re safe now.“

Sara mumbled something unintelligible, the only words Nikki could muster were ‘Michael’ and ‘don’t’ - then her rapid breathing calmed slowly down and finally she seemed to sleep soundly again.

Nikki sighed and looked sadly down on Sara’s pale, sweat covered face. Carefully she felt for her temperature – she seemed a bit warm, but ok.

She placed Sara’s hand tenderly back on her chest before she scrambled back into her seat in the front, this time attracting Paul’s attention with the contrast of her dark top to the curves of creamy white flesh visible at her plunging neckline.

Gulping heavily and with suddenly dry lips he managed to ask,

“How’s she doing?”

Nikki smiled tiredly,

“She seems to be in pain and I think she’s dreaming of Michael… but…” she rubbed her face “…it was no nice dream…”

She sighed.

"I can only hope it will all work out for her and Michael… she almost… I mean… you know already… her overdose… but then her father… It’s too much, you know? They didn't have a close relationship, but she loved him deeply… And now she’s setting all her hope, all her heart in Michael… if something goes wrong…”

Nikki’s bottom lip trembled slightly and she averted her eyes, staring into the moonlit darkness outside.

“I don’t think that she would recover… I have never seen her so fragile, so... worn out… so thin… But when she talks about Michael she’s back, with a full heart…”

Paul glanced over to her, her cute profile drawn in silver moonlight. He reached out and took her hand in his.

“Then I know how she feels… I have felt hollow and thin for years now… but… I think I’ve found something… which could make me whole again…” he admitted quietly, squeezing her hand.

A beautiful smile bloomed at Nikki’s lips and she led his hand to her lips, kissing his fingers softly without saying a word.

Warmth spread in Paul’s breast and he couldn’t help but smile a wide Cheshire Cat grin, whilst their car sped into the darkness towards their meeting point in Durango, devouring mile after mile, bringing them closer to their future…





****************************************

She actually must have slept awhile – but she was not really sure.

Sara felt somehow lost between dream and reality.

Sometimes she seemed to be sleeping, sometimes she seemed to be awake – but there had been people with her who couldn’t have been there.

Her mother had been there – staring down at her accusingly, a bottle of Vodka in her hand.

Sara had tried to argue with her, but her mother had turned wordlessly away and had vanished into the dark, leaving her crying.

Then her father walked to her side and was surprisingly smiling. ‘Hang on… don’t stop fighting!’ he said and stretched his hand out to touch her face.

Sara lifted her hand to meet his and at the same moment as his hand touched her cheek and WENT RIGHT THROUGH HER SKIN WITHOUT THE SLIGHTEST RESISTENCE her own hand slid through his and he disappeared.

Totally shocked Sara tried to get up but she couldn’t move, the icecold touch of her father had frozen her to the backseat, silent tears ran down her face and then another person approached… long, lean frame, buzzed down black hair, stunning turquoise eyes, sensual lips curling up in a sweet smile, elegant fingers taking her stonecold hands in his… Michael bent down to her and warmed her hands, rubbing them gently.

She could feel his warmth spread through her whole body but - she stared in panic at him – was he dead? Her mother and her father were dead, and they had been here… does it mean that Michael was dead too?

“No… no Michael… please… don’t be dead…” she winced.

He only smiled at her, a twinkle in his eloquent eyes and moved closer, his lips brushing hers and now one of his hands moved to her face and caressed her cheek lovingly.

Sara sighed… now she felt warm and loved, no longer lonely. Somehow she knew that Michael was waiting for her and the knowledge calmed her down…

Finally her breathing soothed and she shifted into a deep and restful sleep.




****************************************

Sara woke up as the first rays of the sun touched the sky, fighting back the blue velvet above and dyeing the horizon in shades of gold, red and orange…

She could hear Nikki and Paul talking through the steady and somehow soothing noise of the running engine and the relaxed tone of Nikki’s voice made her smile.

Sara followed the direction her thoughts were taking – what did it mean for Nikki that Paul had joined them? She seemed to be so happy now, the joy she was emanating was almost palpable.

And Paul? Vice versa… all the same… They seemed to be made for another…

Now Sara’s smile faded into a frown.

Would it be the same with her and Michael?

They had already been through so much… she knew how torn he was, he had to fight constantly with his LLI and the experiences he had suffered in Fox River were traumatic.

His brother was free – but at what price? And could he stay free? He may be innocent, but that was not proven… and so both of them would stay hunted men, escaped convicts… always on the run, always in danger…

She was sure that she loved him… so much… but… what if… she sighed.

What if it was no real love? What if it was only because it was interesting and heartbreaking, because of the circumstances? The thrill of the taboo, stolen glances and touches in the infirmary, their kiss? And now – the thrill of the run, the danger of getting caught, of getting separated again?

What if it was only another form of addiction for her?

Tears welled up and streamed over her face.

She didn’t want to think of his and her – of their? – love as an addiction… she didn’t want to besmirch these perfect feelings with her own imperfection and yet she couldn’t help the self-destroying thoughts from invading her heart.

Michael had enough problems even without her… should she really burden him with her past? With her addiction?

Maybe it would be better if… if… she sobbed silently, fighting hard to stifle the sound… she couldn’t even think of it… she simply couldn’t be without him.

Since he had entered her infirmary weeks ago he was her first thought in the morning and the last in the evening – and in between he filled her heart and dreams.

No… she shook her head desperately and wiped the tears angrily away.

No. She loved him – with whole her heart! This she knew to be true… stop with the self-pity, Tancredi! She told herself and sat up carefully.

She had a little dizzy spell, but a few moments later she felt ok.





****************************************

Nikki turned to her and flashed a tired and concerned, but nevertheless happy and relieved smile at her.

“Sar! You’re awake! How do you feel?“

Sara smiled thankfully back at her.

“Hey Nikki – Paul… good morning! My arm throbs slightly, I feel a little dizzy… and very very embarrassed… what for god’s sake was I talking about last night?”

She blushed deeply.

Nikki threw a glance at Paul, than she chuckled slightly,

“Well Tancredi – you better forget about it… I don’t want it to hunt you in your dreams…”

Sara shrieked “uuhh… that bad, huh?”

Nikki laughed “Yeah – that was Tancredi at her best…” and twinkled at her.

Sara smiled wearily back.

“Where are we?”

Paul’s deep voice answered her,

“We will reach Quernado in a few minutes – we should rest there a while and I would love to stretch my legs for a bit.

We have been on the road for in about four hours now… it will take us seven to eight hours more to arrive in Durango. Way to go, I would say…” he yawned.

Sara nodded and looked concerned from Paul to Nikki.

“Uhm… can we take a motel room in Quernado for a few hours? You both look very tired and I’m not sure if I’m able to drive now… maybe in a few hours when the effect of the painkillers has ebbed completely, but not now…”

Paul frowned slightly and looked at Nikki – and Nikki blushed and cleared her throat.

Sara glanced confused between them to and fro and then,

“ooooh… I… I – uhm… I mean… we can for sure take two rooms in that motel… but… if we, neither one of you will rest, I fear…"

she mumbled embarrassed and bit her lip to stifle the nervous laughter which she could feel bubbling up.

Nikki laughed, too “Sometimes I hate it when you’re right, Sar!”

“Me too!” giggled Sara and Paul joined them in their laughter.

It felt good to be with those girls, he decided… so… natural and at ease. Or – to name it with another word: perfect…
End Notes:
I would love to get some comments - from my mute readers, too! :)

Thanks to all who read and enjoy this story...

Part 2 will hopefully follow the next days!
Chapter 19 - On the move - Part II by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
Hi there! :)
Second part of "On the move" - and it will bring us closer to a very appreciated reunion, I promise! :)
.
***********************
On the move – Part II
***********************

Selene had a problem.

She stood in front of the closed door and felt nervous like never before in her life.

LJ slept on the other side of the thin piece of wood – and her aunt had sent her to wake him up.

She would say: no big deal at all… but… firstly it was LJ sleeping in there, the cute boy who had been the first to kiss her and who was literally taking her breath away… and second he didn’t answer at her first attempt.

Taking a deep breath she gathered all her courage and knocked again on the door.

Nothing.

Selene frowned slightly and pricked her ears – no sound on the other side of the door.

She exhaled and felt slightly frustrated.

And knocked again – with the same result: no answer.

Biting her lower lip she finally opened the door – it swung silently into the corridor, revealing LJ sound asleep to her widening eyes.

He was not laid in bed like normal people would be… he had obviously moved in the night and slept now in an almost foetal position with his back pressed against the head piece of the bed, his face soft in his slumber, cuddling his pillow in his arms and his mouth smiling, breathing steadily.

And he was only clad in his boxers… he must have removed his jeans and shirt.

Selene gulped dryly and felt as if she was glued to this sight – her eyes drank in every detail… he looked so cute! And for the first time since she knew him, LJ was totally relaxed…

She shook herself out of her reverie.

So… what should she do now? Her problem still existed, it had only changed a bit… The bed filled the little room completely, there was no way to step into the room to shake him awake…

Someone else would be able to call out to wake him – but that option was none existent for her.

Send him a message? The beeping of the pager would surely wake him up – but her pager was on the worktop in the kitchen…

Throwing something at him? What – maybe her shoe??? No – that would at least startle him if not hurt him.

She shook her head – no… they were all bad ideas.

So – what?




****************************************

Her clueless expression changed slowly into a sly smile… should she really?

Again she bit in her lower lip and fought with herself – yes – she should… and she would…

Now feeling totally nervous she wiped her suddenly clammy hands on her short skirt.

God – what was it with this lad that made her feel like laughing and crying at the same time? She almost felt lucky that she couldn’t talk because for sure she would be mute anyway with him nearby?

Ok, she had never had much contact to other kids her age. She was not the only child living with members of the AC – but they only met occasionally, maybe two or three times a year… They were her friends: Sasha, Lionel, Chee and the twins Jill and Jared. But they were all younger than her, and she had never felt this way when she was with them.

And now – LJ… he… was so… different. It FELT different…

Licking her lips she realized she was still frozen in the threshold, staring at him.

Taking another deep breath she moved forward and crawled carefully onto his bed, kneeling by his side, her slender hand outstretched, almost touching his naked shoulder – she could feel the heat emanating from his body and got petrified again.

Her heart beat loudly in her throat and she felt thrilled – and scolded herself for being stupid.

Selene closed her eyes in a futile attempt to calm herself down as she suddenly felt his hands pulling on her arms – inhaling sharply she snapped her eyes open, but she lost her balance and fell helplessly onto LJ’s chest, her breath hitching almost painfully at the sight of his blue-green eyes so close, twinkling mischieviously at her, his strong arms pressing her lithe body against him, her pale hands laying flush at his tanned, naked chest.




****************************************

“Morning gorgeous…” he mumbled sleepily, raising his hand to stroke her cheek softly before he cupped her face with both hands and drew her down to a scorching kiss which blew all her thoughts and doubts away…

Breathlessly they stopped endless moments later, their eyes lost in each others gaze.

Selene had settled down comfortably onto LJ’s body, her legs resting between his thighs, her hands still glued to his chest, her fingers boldly exploring his heated skin.

LJ was in big trouble now… their kiss had ended and he stared lovingly into Selene’s beautiful eyes, one of his hands at the small of her back, the other still caressing her soft skin… her fingers were slightly dancing across his chest and while he was relishing in this unbelievable feeling he suddenly realized he was touching the bare skin of her back – and that her long, smooth, cool leg – bare too! – was nestled between his own, skin to skin, tantalizing him with every tiny movement she made, with every breath she took.

He could literally feel all his blood going south and a soft moan escaped him, he bent upwards and caught her lips in an eager kiss, his left hand now tangling in her hair and his right hand slowly travelling down from her back to the soft swelling of her delicate tush.




****************************************

Again he had taken her by surprise, his kiss was more demanding, his tongue entering her mouth with strong, sensual strokes, making her gasp and melt against him, feeling like putty in his hands – and then she felt suddenly a very hard object pressing against her stomach.

But instead of feeling rejected or scared like yesterday she only felt a strange kind of thrill – the knowledge that she was responsible for this physical reaction made her somehow proud and… eager to feel more of him…

“Selene? Is LJ awake? Shoo him into the bathroom, breakfast is almost ready, we need to drive soon!“

The shouting of her Aunt from the stairs – almost here, her view of them only blocked by the door! - made them jerk apart, panting heavily, faces hot and eyes shiny with need and unknown feelings.

After a few seconds of startled shock LJ recovered and hollered,

“Yeah, I’m awake, Jane! I’m on my way into the bathroom now!”, his eyes never leaving Selene.

“Fine, then hurry up! I can’t guarantee any food left for you when the wolves have circled the table…” Jane answered and turned, her steps descending to the lower floor.

Now – with a little air between them and being finally wide awake – he could look at Selene properly. She was wearing a lavender-coloured neckholder with a fitting, silver-grey scarf and a short – very short! - silver-grey skirt, her feet covered by silver espandrilles with ribbons caressing her pale, slender calves.

Selene was quite shocked from her own behaviour… she stared at LJ with huge grey eyes, a cute flush covering her cheeks, still panting heavily.

LJ shrugged slightly and grinned sheepishly at her.

“That was what is called ‘a close call’ – huh?” He leant in and kissed her softly at her lips.

“I’m going to shower now… see you in the kitchen?”

Selene managed a nod and a wry smile and got a little peck on her cheek and a brilliant smile back in return.

Then LJ jumped off the bed, grabbed his clothes and stormed into the direction of the bathroom, totally unaware that he was leaving her behind in a total chaos of emotions and feelings ravaging mind and body…




****************************************

Half an hour later they were all gathered into the kitchen.

The table was loaded with fresh baked buns and bread, butter, jam, ham and eggs, sausages, juice – and, of course – coffee.

It was still early, the sun was rising – back in his old life LJ would have sulked and muttered around… but today he was good-humoured and sparkling with spirit – he would meet his father again!

And Aldo had just told him that his father had called late in the night, Uncle Mike seemed to be in good health and on his way to their meeting point, too.

He barely could wait for them all to leave – but his growling stomach convinced him that it wouldn’t hurt to eat, and so he dug in hungrily, flashing smiles at Selene.

Selene couldn’t help and smiled back.

She was still shocked about her loss of control, but she simply couldn’t resist LJ’s charm and her effervescent feelings for him.

LJ’s eyes wondered from Selene back to her aunt - he still hadn’t quite recovered from the sight of Jane – she looked totally different to her appearance yesterday.

Thunderstruck he had stopped in the door of the kitchen and had stared at her with an open mouth, eying her from head to toe.

Jane was wearing a black, tight fitting jeans and motorcycle boots with gleaming silver clasps, a black top and a bright red, short leather jacket and her blonde hair was falling in soft natural curls freely around her shoulders and face.

She still was tall and looked like she would be good at kicking ass – but man, she was all woman and curves… and he could easily see resemblances to his Selene.

His… LJ smiled brightly as he became aware of his choice of words and his eyes searched her profile again.

Hopefully she really was his… his bright mood was immediately darkened by this thought, but one smile of Selene and all the doubts were blown in the wind.

Life had been terrible and merciless in the last few weeks and months… but now, it seemed – he was back on track… His father was still alive, his uncle was ok – and he had found a wonderful girl… he never would forget his mother and he knew that he would mourn for her when finally he would have more time for himself – but for now, for this moment – he was happy.



****************************************

The ride through the canyons had been breathtaking and very interesting.

Thank god Kat knew the way like the back of her hand and carefully manoeuvered them through some very difficult passages.

Michael was in awe of the strong woman at his side and for the first time this month he actually enjoyed his LLI – he eagerly memorized all the unbelievable sights which arose, interesting and almost alien looking rock-formations, their deep earthy and warm colours, the bright blue sky above and the pure and simple beauty of the nature around.

If it was to end well, he would meet up with his brother and Sara and if they would be able to clear their names from every suspicion thrown at them he swore to himself he would take his family and would visit Kat with them… to show them this wonderful person he had met, her striking dogs and the rough beauty of this land.

He was strangely disappointed and relieved at the same time when they finally left the canyons and turned to the open pairie.

They crossed some dusty tracks barely visible in the crawling sand before they finally entered a small road cutting through the desert which lead them to a bigger one.

There were no other cars to see – that was good...

Kat lead him all the way down to Nephi where they drove onto the Interstate 15 without being seen by anyone.

When the street got busier Michael turned his seat down and lay flat on his back – he could not risk being seen with Kat… they chatted about this and that and he learned more about this amazing woman, her life and her family.

Finally Kat told him quietly,

“We’re in Spanish Fork now… maybe you’ll call you brother and ask him where he is? We are in good time – it’s almost 9 – we will reach the Canyon View Park in 15 minutes.”

Michael nodded and used Kat’s cell phone to contact Linc.




****************************************

“Bro?”

Michael smiled,

“Hey Linc – where are you?”

Lincoln rubbed his sweaty face,

“I’m in the parking lot… and you?”

Relief flooded Michael,

“I’ll be right with you in 15 minutes…”

“K – take care!”

“You too…”

Michael closed the phone and smiled at Kat.

“He’s there! He’s waiting for us…”

Kat smiled and answered,

“Good… I’m looking forward to meeting the infamous Lincoln Burrows… if he’s only a little like his brother he will be a man I like…”

Michael blushed deeply… he couldn’t understand how he and his brother had earned the help and trust of this woman.

He didn’t answer, but smiled back at her.

And that was enough…





****************************************

They drove into the parking lot and started to drive around slowly.

“There he is!” Michael murmured and pointed at a car on the far end, hidden deep in the shadows of the big trees.

They slowly approached the obviously abandoned car and Michael furrowed his brow.

That was their car, there were no doubts – but… where was Lincoln?

He could feel his stomach knot in anxiety.

Kat drove into the space next to Linc’s car and opened her door.

“Stay hidden – I will see if it’s safe!”

“Kat – don’t!” Michael whispered sharply, but it was too late – Kat had left the car and closed the door behind her.

Cursing silently he craned his neck and peered carefully out of the car.

He could hear Kat whistle and then the clicking sounds of claws in the cargo area – and then departing footsteps.

Michael held his breath and counted slowly up to ten – and then back down to zero.

He vowed to himself that he would do this once again, but if he had no sign from Kat he would leave the car and look for her.

Just as he started to count down to Zero for a second time he could hear footsteps coming back, quicker now.

He could feel his whole body tensing up, what would happen now? Friend or foe?

A shadow filled the window – and the door opened…




****************************************

He looked up in Kat’s smiling face and the rush of relief he felt almost wiped away his self-control.

“Come on Michael – it’s your brother – it’s all ok… and the parking lot is free at the moment, I can’t see another person in here… you should go now…” Kat said.

Michael nodded smiling and got up.

He opened his door and grabbed the backpack Kat had packed for him.

Leaving quickly he pulled his baseball cap down onto his face and glanced nervously around, but the nearest cars were parked hundreds of yards away.

There was no one around, it seemed all to be quiet out here.

Then he felt the warmth of Thorn on his leg and smiled down on the dog… and next thing he knew was that he was pulled in a tight bear hug which made him wince in pain.

“Ouch… Linc! Be careful…“

Immediately Linc let go and held him at armslength away to observe him thoroughly.

Linc paled, grabbed Michael’s Baseball-cap and tore it from his head - and inhaled sharply,

“Holy shit Michael – what happened to your face?”

Michael shrugged his shoulders uncomfortably and averted his eyes.

“What do you think? T-Bag happened…” he said bitterly.

“I’LL KILL THAT FUCKING BASTARD! WHERE’S THAT SON OF A BITCH? WHAT ELSE HAS HE DONE TO YOU, MICHAEL!” roared Linc suddenly, making Kat and Michael flinch and stare at him – and both dogs jumped between their mistress and Michael to shield them against the screaming man, their fur bristling at their necks, growling slightly.

“Linc! Linc, calm down!“ Michael hissed and glanced over to the other parked cars.

“What happened has happened – we can’t change it! T-Bag has been up to much more vile things but I could escape before… he worked on my face and my ribcage had seen better times – but I’m alive and I’m in one piece!”

Linc stood there, glaring at Michael, his face red and with bared teeth – he was constantly curling his fingers up into fists, shaking with anger and hate… the muscles on his arms twitching agitated with every move of his fingers.

“Linc… please… forget T-Bag… I’m fine, really… he…” Michael gulped.

“He has not… touched me, if you fear that… he wanted to play with me and relishing it as much as possible – and that was my luck… that’s why I could get away without… uhm…” his voice trailed off and he licked his split lip.




****************************************

At the sound of Kat clearing her throat Michael, Linc and the two dogs turned to the elder woman.

“Boys…” she said in a calming tone and softly touched Linc’s trembling shoulders.

“You haven't the time for this now. This T-Bag is a hundred miles behind us and has the FBI and the Sheriff hot on his heels…

Michael is – as far as I can see it – ok… nothing that time and good care can't cure.

You have not been there when this lunatic had him under his sway? Yes… but it was not your fault, and you couldn’t have done anything for your brother… but you are here now. And you will be there for him to help him through the aftermath. That’s all that matters…

Now stop fighting – like Michael said: it has happened and you can’t reverse it… go on… don’t hold on to the past.”

Still breathing hard Linc blinked several times and lowered finally his eyes to hers, wiping his face with a shaking hand.

Kat looked kindly up at the bigger man and patted his shoulder.

“Better now?”

Lincoln gulped and nodded slowly.

“Fine… it’s not your fault, Linc… we can’t always be there for the ones we love – but we can always try and give our best… and you did.

Now boys – go on… I have to drive back…”

Michael who had watched the exchange silently was once again in awe of her – but she had raised four sons and for sure she had her share of fights in all those years…

Without hesitation he pulled her in an embrace, hugging her gently.

“Again – thanks for everything, Kat… when all of this is over, I would love to visit you again, if you don't mind…”

Kat rubbed slightly and carefully at his back, pulled away and turned with laughing eyes back at him ,

“I would love it… and bring your whole family with you – next time…” she twinkled at him.

Michael could feel a lump in his throat and nodded “I will…” he answered hoarsely.

In the meantime Linc had drawn a few deep breaths and had visibly relaxed.

He turned to Kat and a crooked smile played on his face…

“Sorry… it’s… I’m…” he sighed and shrugged,

"I’m supposed to take good care of my little brother… but I’m always failing…”

Michael jerked his head around and wanted to retort sharply but Kat was quicker than him.

“No – you didn’t. Lincoln, I don’t know you or Michael very much… but look at him! He’s a very intelligent and fine young man, and his heart is in the right place… he will do everything for his family – like you do. You may not have been the best example for him – if I can trust all that the news have said about you – but he has taken all the best from you.

And now stop wallowing… you both! It’s time to go on…”

With that she stepped back and whistled her dogs.

Timbo turned immediately to his mistress – but Thorn hesitated and looked inquiring up at Michael.

Michael smiled and crouched down beside the dog, stroking his thick furr once again and caressed the silken ears.

“Bye boy… and thanks for your help…” he mumbled, than stood up and smiled one last time at Kat.

“Be careful…” he nodded at her, then turned to Linc, “Come on… we have to cover some distance…”

Linc nodded. “Yeah… thanks for bringing my baby brother back to me in… uhm… one piece, lady…”

“Your welcome… just take good care of each other… Timbo – Thorn! Up now – let’s go home…”




****************************************

They arrived in Durango in the evening – both very tired but with their expectations high.

It had been a long way – they had driven for over nine hours now and had caught up on all that had happened so far.

Or rather, Lincoln was talking about what had happened to him, Michael remained silent – he only repeated again and again that he was ok, that the damage Linc could see on his face and throat and the damage on his ribcage was all he had suffered....

Gritting his teeth Lincoln finally accepted he wouldn’t get any more information from his stubborn brother, but couldn’t help himself and had one last try.

“You don’t understand, Mikey… I… have seen what that bastard did to Tweener… and only to think that he has laid his dirty hands on you drives me crazy…” his hands were clenched around the stirring wheel.

Michael had been appalled.

“Tweener… shit … I almost forgot about him with all that happened since T-Bag took me… is he ok?”

“Yeah… he is…” and Linc told him in detail the Tweener-Debra Jean-Padre Emilio Story.

They only stopped to refill the car, Michael had been in the little store, his baseball cap deep down on his battered face, praying to god that nobody would recognize him.

Luckily, the shop clerk had been a myopic old man who hadn’t really paid attention to him.

And Michael could not be thankful enough for this good fortune because he almost cried out as he turned to leave the store and was faced with a mug shot of a pale, strained looking Sara, staring wide-eyed and unseeing into the camera.

Damn! Sara had told him that she was wanted too… but to see her face plastered on the wall of a fuel station was hurtful… What on earth had he done to her?

She had been a young, successful doctor – until he came along and destroyed her life!

He returned to Lincoln in a bad, brooding mood and Linc couldn’t get him to talk.

Michael was meandering through valleys full of guilt and shut his brother completely out.

Hissing some not so nice words under his breath about his stubborn baby brother Lincoln returned to the highway – he could only sit it out until his brother would shake it off…

…and to his relief Michael just snapped out of it at the city signs of Durango.

“Nice to have you back, bro…” Linc growled, but he was too happy to have him back to be really angry with him.

“Yeah… sorry, Linc…” Michael said ruefully and rubbed his face. “Where are we?”

Linc yawned “Durango…”

Michael nodded. “And now… where too?”

Linc rummaged in his pocket and handed Michael his cell phone and a small paper.

“We have to drive to this address and then we will call that guy. If I have got it right it’s one of those special secured living areas… you know, a ‘village in a village’, separated from the normal town through fences and high security…

The safe house is in the middle of this village – and the guy we have to call is working there this evening. He will check us in – and will get us through the security.”

Linc shrugged and Michael looked intrigued.

“Hm… ‘Rose Creek’… That’s really not bad… it shouldn’t be too easy to get in… so it’s good that this guy is working with the Anti Company.

I still wonder why this organisation is willing to help us, Linc… I’m sure there’s a hidden hook in this…” Michael said thoughtful and frowned slightly.

Linc bit nervously at his lips. He had told Michael all he wanted to know about the AC – of course Michael was interested, they had taken his nephew and were offering a safe house for them. But… Linc sighed. He hadn’t had the courage to tell Michael about dad.

Michael had never known their father – he knew only all the vile stories about his alcoholism - and that his father had left him even before he was born.

Linc just knew that this would cause trouble… and so he had decided that he would deal with it later. First they had to arrive at the safe house.

“Don’t bother now – I want to meet up with my son… look – that’s the address… you should call that security guard now…”

Michael nodded and dialled the number and listened to the dialling tone… then he could hear somebody picking up the phone.

“Patron.” He said shortly.

“Caretaker” was the short answer, than the line went dead.

Michael exhaled. “Ok Linc, let’s do it…” and Linc nodded.

Both men arranged their baseball caps and took deep breaths.

Linc started the car again and drove slowly towards the heavily secured gateway of ‘Rose Creek’…




****************************************

(((Artist: Alice Cooper – Song: Poison)))

They had really done it.

They had reached Quernado and had found a motel immediately; Paul had booked a room for them and they had taken residence of it.

There had been one awkward moment, the three of them standing in the middle of the main room and looking a bit embarrassed to and fro before a slightly blushing Sara had shrugged, mumbled something unintelligible and had rushed for the second room, closing the door resolutely behind her and turning the TV on as loud as she dared.

That left a now blushing Nikki rummaging urgently through her backpack without really noticing what sat in her hands. All of a sudden she felt very unsettled and didn’t know what to do. She was alone with Paul in a room – a situation she had dreamt of for the last few days and nights. It was like this man had cast a spell on her, she felt so heavily drawn to him that it almost scared her…

But right now? She was all nerves and to feel Paul’s hot gaze on her, literally burning holes through her clothing didn’t help. It didn’t help at all.


*** I want to love you but I better not touch ***
*** (don't touch) ***



Paul cleared his throat and sat down on the bed.

“Well… if I can count correctly that makes one bed and two of us at the moment…” he said and blinked mischieviously.

Now her shakiness turned suddenly into something nearly bordering to anger – she channelled the anger into aggressiveness to protect herself and spun her tiny body quickly around too tell Paul to shut up, to back off – but there was no chance to do so…


*** I want to kiss you but I want it too much ***
*** (too much) ***



…Paul had moved so quickly, she was encircled by his strong arms, his lips crashing down on hers, stealing her breath and resolve away, his body pressing hotly against her and in seconds he had picked her up and was laying down with her on the bed, never breaking his scorching kiss…

And damn! That man could kiss… Nikki was melting away and prayed silently that this would never end… her whole body was on fire and Paul’s experienced hands were roaming her, eliciting soft moans of pleasure from her full lips, greedily absorbed by another line of his hot kisses.

She was driving him crazy… All the long hours in the car he had waited for a moment to be alone with her and Nikki had been waiting too, he could tell!


*** Your cruel device ***
*** Your blood, like ice ***



And then, finally, they were alone – and she was giving him the cold shoulder?

Paul was bewildered, she was sending him mixed signals and he didn’t know what to do!


*** One look could kill ***
*** My pain, your thrill ***



He had tried to lighten up the atmosphere but it had backfired, he had immediately sensed the change in her body language – and then his body had reacted without consulting his brain.


*** I want to hold you but my senses ***
*** Tell me to stop ***



Closing the distance between them in one fluid motion he captured Nikki’s lithe body in his arms and had stifled every upcoming protest of hers in a kiss which hopefully would leave no questions un-answered…

And before he knew it he had lifted her featherweight body in his arms and now they were settled on the bed, all exhaustion forgotten, only the here and now mattered.

Paul got lost in the sensations Nikki’s soft body was arousing in him – it had been so long since he had touched a woman, since he had allowed a woman to come so near to him… and it had never before felt like this.


*** I want to taste you but your lips ***
*** Are venomous ***



This was not only sexual hunger and the heat of the moment – this was so much more… Nikki didn’t only appeal to him with her perfect body – it was her sparkling spirit, her multi-faceted personality, her keen mind, her kind soul, her soft voice, the deep love, concern and friendship she was showing for Sara – and her intoxicating smell of Honey and Almonds… This woman filled all his senses, his heart, his soul, everything… she made him complete…


*** Don't want to touch you but ***
*** You're under my skin (deep in) ***



He had been rough and possessive at first but his ministrations got more sensual now, his lips never leaving hers, his tongue meeting Nikki’s with every lustful stroke, his fingers exploring her body, finding their way underneath her top, nestling against the silken barrier of her bra, finding a way underneath that too – gaining their prize, teasing her soft flesh expertly, making her squirm under his weight, gasping for air, mumbling softly, barely audible words of pleasure.

Then Paul slid down on the side of her body, resting against her, his hands releasing her hardened buds and he smirked at the small frustrated sound which left her lips, her usually pale blue eyes almost black with desire, her lips pink and swollen from their impatient and hard kisses only seconds before.


*** Your mouth, so hot ***
*** Your web, I'm caught ***



His fingers trailed along the silken line of her bra, around her heavy moving ribcage to find the fastenings, and Nikki arched her small body up to help him, to give him room to maneuoveur his fingers.


*** Your skin, so wet ***
*** Black lace on sweat ***



Paul’s seablue eyes where deeply locked with hers when he leant down again to kiss her alluring lips, his fingers twitched the breech deftly whilst his tongue delved into her mouth, the bra finally giving way and releasing it's sweet load… then his fingers travelled slowly, oh so slowly all the way back over her shuddering flesh to come to rest at her now freed breasts.

Her little hands were caressing his face and shoulders, his tanned chest, tangling in his hair – but he had other plans and caught them in his grip and bent her arms high above her head, her small wrists fitting easily in his hand, Nikki was captured and barely able to move but she didn’t complain as his free hand shoved her top and bra upwards, the cool air hitting her heated body and made her shiver in aniticipation.

But now Paul took his time… he let his gaze wander up and down her body, lingering at her breasts, the perfect shape of her navel, the feminine line of her hips - he made her feel strangely self-conscious, bare and a little helpless under this scrutinizing glance, shivering slightly.


*** I want to kiss you but your lips ***
*** Are venomous ***



His free hand moved again and Nikki struggled to bite back a deep moan and followed the movement with her eyes, Paul splayed his hand over her flat belly, hot on her sweaty flesh, making her gasp and goosebumps spread all over, she was panting heavily now and could see him smiling knowingly.


*** Poison ***
*** You're poison running through my veins ***



He knew what he did to her! He knew it and he loved it!

Now his hand crept slowly down, followed the line from her navel to the hem of her jeans, then sliding tantalizing slowly under the fabric, undoing the button and the zipper, sliding beneath, sliding deeper, finding its way down into her underwear, finding…

Nikki inhaled sharply and arched against him and only seconds later his mouth was back on hers, her wrists still captured, and his free hand still working its magic on her…


*** You're poison, I don't want to break***
*** these chains ***



Time stood still and nothing else was existed, only her, Paul, the bed – and the unbelievable things he could do to her… which she would love to return in time…


*** Poison ***
*** You're poison running through my veins ***






****************************************

Two hours later they had finally fallen asleep, Nikki's head nestled in the crook of Paul’s neck, her hand resting on his heart, one leg between his, their naked bodies barely covered by the sheets, both still heated and sweaty, but sated and spent and just happy to be in each others arms…

That was the image Sara got to see as she emerged silently and carefully from her room to attend to the bathroom.

She had turned up the volume of the TV as loud as she dared but… it hadn’t really been enough to shut out all of the sounds of the lovemaking couple on the other side.

Sara had been laying there, her pillow pressed on her head and she hadn’t known if she should be happy, amused, embarrassed or tortured by the actions out there.

Finally she had decided it was all of them ......

Happy – for Nikki, that she had found the love of her life… and for Paul because it looked like he felt the same…

Amused because it wasn't every day you were trapped in a motel room with a couple who could barely wait to have you out of the room to ‘do the dirty’…

Embarassed because she couldn’t avoid hearing them and – of course – to know what they were doing, and because she couldn’t stop her mind racing, to imagine WHAT exactly was happening out there in this very moment.

And tortured because her thoughts were leaving Nikki and Paul and were jumping forward, transfering those thoughts onto her and Michael, and making her… all nervous and tingling and giddy... and desperately longing for Michael…

Finally – after hours! – it got quiet out there… Sara slowly removed the pillow from her head and pricked her ears.

She sighed relieved… now she would wait a few minutes more and, if it still was quiet then she would tip-toe into the bathroom – she needed to control her sutures and a shower to calm down a bit.

When she opened the door to the mainroom a few minutes later she had sworn to herself NOT TO LOOK at them… but of course… she had pried, looked at their intermingled sweaty limbs and happy, blissful faces, so relaxed in sleep…

Sighing silently Sara continued her way into the bathroom.





****************************************

She entered it, closed the door behind and leant heavily against – somehow she felt so tired, like it had been her in action out there and not the one resting and trying to be deaf.

Shrugging she removed her shirt, wincing as it’s fabric stuck slightly on the dressing, but it got free and seconds later she had removed the dressing too and checked on the sutures.

It looked fine, she had done a good job. No swelling, the suture was straight and as fine as she could have managed, the skin was slightly reddened, but not inflamed.

Sara took the antiseptic and some padding and dabbed carefully at her stitches, gritting her teeth. She covered all with a big band-aid to avoid as much water on her injured skin as possible, then she stripped free of all her clothes and went into the shower.

Damn… she had almost forgotten how relaxing a real good shower was… the last one she had taken was less then 12 hours back, but the traumatic experiences she had been through afterwards made it feel like it had been years ago.

Sara could feel the hot water working on her tense muscles and sighed silently.

Washing her hair with only one hand was a bit challenging, but she couldn’t move her other arm over her head without tearing the suture open.

Not giving up she managed it somehow and left half an hour later refreshed and in fresh clothes, again tip-toing through the main room and stealing a glance at the sleeping lovers – nothing had changed there…

Smiling knowingly she entered her room and slipped between the sheets, finally relaxed enough to sleep…





****************************************

Of course they slept away the day – literally!

None of them stirred, they slept the peaceful sleep of happy souls, feeling safe and sound for the first time after a long time of running.

Sara woke up yawning and stretching, feeling strangely warm and satisfied and without knowing where she was… she had dreamt a wonderful dream, full of love and warmth, full of – Michael…

With a little shriek she sat up in bed, glancing around.

The room was lit in a red-golden light which meant that it was the late evening now - sundown… they had slept the whole day!

Muttering cuss-words under her breath she climbed out of the bed and cautiously opened the door to the main room, peeking inside.

The image had changed – Nikki was lying up on Pauls body, her head resting comfortably on her interwoven hands, eyes locked with his, and his hands were caressing her – still – naked back and shoulders lovingly, their lower anatomy covered with the sheet.

Both were deep in a whispered conversation and it looked like they wouldn’t change that soon.

Fury filled Sara – damn it! They were awake! They could have been on the road again, bringing her nearer to Michael, but no – they… they…

To calm herself she took a deep breath and cleared her throat loudly.




****************************************

Paul and Nikki looked up and in her direction, Nikki immediately blushing and Paul smirking mischieviously.

Sara entered now the room, barely able to stop herself from screaming,

“The sun is going down – why didn’t you wake me up?”

Her amber eyes were throwing daggers at them.

Paul laughed heartily and mumbled something to Nikki which made her laugh, too.

That really upset Sara.

But before she could start screaming at them, at their smiling and laughing faces Paul said,

“We woke up only a few minutes before you… and had decided that we will stay until its completely dark outside… and then move on.

One hour more want make any difference, and I’m sure we all needed the sleep … because otherwise we would have woken up much earlier.

So… retract your claws, wildcat… We didn't do it on purpose…”

Nikki slapped him on his upper arm and Sara exhaled frustrated,

“FINE!” she spat at him, spun on her heels, stormed back in her room and slammed the door behind.

“Ouch!“ Paul mumbled, stared questioningly at Nikki and rubbed his arm, "What was that for?”

Nikki slapped him once again,

“That was not necessary, Paul… She wants so badly to be with Michael like…” Nikki bit her lower lip and averted her eyes, finishing almost unintelligible “…like I wanted to be with you.”

Paul studied her face for a moment, tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear and sighed.

"Yeah… you’re right…“

He suddenly moved and flipped her over, pinning Nikki with his weight onto the mattress and kissed her intensely.

Then he nudged his nose against hers,

“Come on babe, let’s shower, we have to move… the sooner we get Sara and Scofield together, the quicker that little cat will purr...”

Nikki couldn’t help herself and smiled at him, her anger and trepidation gone with a look in his periwinkle eyes…

“Ok Kellerman… but you go first…” she teased.

Paul looked all hurt and crestfallen, but Nikki shook her head resolutely.

“No showering together this time, big boy…” She kissed him and smiled up at him.

“There will come more opportunities to do so… but right now we need just to freshen up and roll…”

He returned her kiss, and sighed deeply against her lips.

“Why on earth did I have to find such a smart woman…” he complained grinning, stifling her answer with another hot, promising kiss – and when he felt her body react positively to him, he broke away, grinned evily and jumped up.

Nikki looked adorable, her hair tousled, her cheeks flushed, her sweet lips slightly parted – and her eyes once again dark.

“Nah, Nikki… not now… remember?” he scolded her teasingly.

And with that Paul grabbed his heap of clothes on the floor and almost jogged into the bathroom to escape Nikki’s flood of not so nice cusswords and flying cushions, a satisfied smirk on his handsome features…





****************************************

They stopped at a fuel station and then at a little diner - Paul bought burgers and chips for them all and they devoured it with enormous appetite.

And then they were on their way again… hours passed mile after mile as they covered the distance of almost 300 miles and reached the outskirts of Durango in the early morning hours of the 5th of June.

They decided to wait a little longer before waking up the residents of the safe house, Paul organized something to eat and they parked in an isolated parking lot, Sara was almost too nervous to eat and was picking at the food but Paul and Nikki talked her through it – she needed the food to settle her antibiotics, she was too thin and needed to build up her strength.

Finally she ate without tasting it, all her thoughts only circling around her imminent meeting with Michael.

As the creeping pointers of the clock finally reached the 9 and the 12 Sara grabbed her cell phone and called the number Michael had given her to get the last details of their meeting point…




****************************************

After this really interesting piece of information from the police radio Bellick was in a good mood.

He was only a little worried that T-Bag may have injured Scofield badly enough that he might die without giving him the chance of selling his stinking skin to the highest bidder.

But… first they would interview the old woman ......

They left Lynndyl northwards and searched for the farm, Geary bubbling happily along, Bellick feeling his anticipation rise…

…and both were too wrapped up in their own blinkered minds to realize that they had company.




****************************************

Getting more nervous with each passing second, gnawing violently at his bottom lip T-Bag cautiously neared Lynndyl.

Only a few hundred yards more and he would get to the big street which would lead him finally away from that cursed desert backwater.

And there it was. He stopped to let a car pass as it left Lynndyl in the same direction he intended to take and couldn’t believe his eyes…

Either the heat of the desert had melted his brain or he had seen those assholes Bellick and Geary driving past him.

A sly smile spread over his face and almost softly he accelerated and stirred the wheel to follow his former CO’s…

His curiosity got the better of him – what where they up to? Hunting him?

His laughter filled the car… whoever wanted to hunt him down needed to be much smarter than this dream team…

He followed them at a distance – after about 5 miles they left the main road and turned right, following a small, dusty path and vanished between some hills.

T-Bag stopped and thought about it, watching the dust settle slowly – and then he followed them.

He approached the small hills slowly and stopped to overlook the area.

Nestled in the valley he could see a big farmhouse with generous parts of grassland behind white fences, with red and white brindled cattle and some horses.

He whistled through his teeth – what luck that he had stopped here… Bellick had stopped his car only a few yards below and they were watching the farmyard.

T-Bag craned his neck and could see an elderly woman loading her car.

He frowned – what the hell was so interesting about that old girl that Bellick and Geary were watching her?

And then he saw it… even from this distance, even with his favourite boy clad in some absurd cowboy clothings… he would recognize Pretty everywhere…

“Son of a bitch…” he murmured… and an evil spark glowed deep within his brown eyes.

He watched Pretty’s controlled movements and grinned – he may not had enough time to play with him thoroughly – but it was enough time to leave something to remember him by.

Then two dogs jumped into the cargo area of the car, the old girl climbed in and the boy entered the car very slowly on the passenger side.

Wait a minute – they would leave the farm, that meant that…

Ohh… no… they left the farmyard not over the road… they left in north-eastern direction at a dirt road… and slowly Bellick and Geary moved in that direction, too…

Gnawing at his lip T-Bag thought about what to do now… should he go for it, should he follow Pretty? Try and get another chance to catch his prey?

Or should he hide somewhere and then go for those girls…

He pulled the picture out of his pocket and stared longingly at their laughing faces, then at the leaving cars, almost entirely hidden in the dust.

With one last look at the girls he shrugged. They would wait for him… he had Cody's address and would find them later, they were going nowhere … but if he passed up the golden opportunity to follow Pretty he would probably never see the boy again. So Pretty it was.

He stared down at Bellick’s car, following the Jeep at a distance and started the engine.

It was Pretty’s lucky day too – good ol’ Teddy hadn’t lost his favourite toy…




****************************************

It had been very difficulty for Bellick and Geary not to lose the trail of their prey – their car was really not fit for these tracks.

But somehow luck was on their side.

They managed to evade a break down and followed the fresh skidmarks in the dirt and the clouds of dust in the sky – and T-Bag did the same.

He couldn’t wish for a better way to vanish from the main streets than to follow an inhabitant through the valleys.

And finally – after hours – they left the insecure area and found a street again…

Luckily Bellick seemed to have enough brain to leave a very big distance so they weren’t caught…

T-Bag ogled the area map on his passenger seat – they were nearing the Route 15 now…

They drove in and mimicked the speed the old girl was setting.

And then they reached populated areas again.

Leaving Route 15 in Spanish Fork they almost lost track… but they discovered her far away turning left in the direction of a park.

Moving slowly they neared the parking area, Bellick pulled in whilst T-Bag parked his patrol car outside the wooden area.

He left the car and moved cautiously through the trees to watch a heartbreaking reunion of the brothers – and to see Linc the Sink going mad…

T-Bag smirked… he knew exactly why Linc was raging,

“See – good ol’ T-Bag has finally laid hand on ya sweet lil’ brother… his cute ass is mine - and there’s nothing ya can do about it.” he murmured.

Then he scrutinized the parking lot – there was only one way out.

Satisfied he turned to his car and took the petrol can he had seen earlier in the cargo area and refilled it.

He wouldn’t be left behind because he ran out of fuel.

And then he turned his car in the direction they would leave and waited patiently for his prey to show up again…




****************************************

This way they had managed to follow the brothers all the long way to Durango.

It had gone like clockwork – until the damned brothers had entered a secure village!

T-Bag was gnawing at his bottom lip… he needed to find a way into ‘Rose Creek’ – but for the moment he could only sit and watch and ramble about it… at least there was only one way out.

He could see Bellick raging and Geary wiping sweat from his egglike red head.

And then – he narrowed his eyes – Bellick took a cell phone and made a call.

This primate was intelligent enough to use modern devices?

However, the brothers wouldn’t come out of their den soon, they would need time to lick their wounds… it was time for him to get rid of that traitorous car and clothes… and then he would come back and would find a way to get close to his preferred boy toy again – his fingers itched to touch him.




****************************************

Bellick flipped the cell phone shut and turned to Geary.

“He will gather information about ‘Rose Creek’ and then he will call again. One of us will stay here and watch… That’s you. And I will drive and get us something to eat. If you see one of them – call me.” And with that Bellick threw the second cell phone to Geary and entered the air conditioned car.

Geary nodded, then a flabbergasted expression appeared on his red face and he peeked his head inside the car.

“Wait a moment – why am I the one who has to stay here in the heat, and why are you the one driving away in the airconditioned car?” he asked featherbrained.

Bellick rolled the eyes at him “Because he” – he pointed at his cell phone “said so!” he lied.

“Oh… I see…” Geary mumbled and nodded, retreating from the vehicle.

Bellick shook his head at such a role model of stupidity and drove away.

Geary stood there, watching his partner leave and turned to examine the entrance.

After a few seconds a frown flitted over his face.

“That bastard! He lied to me!!!” he stated with hurt in his voice and looked with open mouth in the direction Bellick had vanished…




****************************************

After ending the call the man leant back and folded his hands.

So the daft pitbulls finally found Scofield… that was good… the time of his revenge was approaching…

Turning his chair to look out through the window he watched the waves playing with the white sand whilst the hot mediterranean sun sparkled.

A few moments later he flipped his cell phone open again and dialled a number.

Without wasting time on a greeting he spoke immediately into the phone after the receiver had been lifted.

“Find out everything about a safe village in Durango, Colorado. It’s called ‘Rose Creek’. I want to know everything. When it was built, what security it has, it's population and their names - who is responsible for it, who can be bribed , who can be blackmailed… And I want it yesterday.”

With that he ended the call and let his glance once again linger over the peaceful image outside… he could see the children playing in the sand, their happy laughter intermingled with the melancholic cries of the seagulls.

“Soon… Soon we will meet again, Michael Scofield… and then revenge will be mine…”




****************************************

Like the day before LJ and Selene settled down in the back of the SUV, glancing nervously at each other.

Jane tipped her head in,

“Ok, we’re moving in a few minutes… It will be a long journey, you’ve water and sandwiches, we will try to stop only for fuel…

We have decided to split up again, when we arrive the safe house only me, Aldo and Kevin will remain, the rest of them have got other work to do.

Selene, you have your beeper? Fine hunny… if you need something, beep me, ok?”

Flashing one of her beautiful smiles at her Aunt, Selene bent forwards and embraced her.

Jane hugged her back, her eyes closed and her face full of love.

LJ watched both woman, his eyes following the intermingled silken flood of honeyblonde and moonlight silver and he could feel the love and closeness between both – it warmed his heart yet contracted with hurt at the same time. It made him realize how much he missed his mother and how much he craved to be with his father again.

Then Jane let go, nodded at LJ and closed the door behind her.

Selene brushed her hair out of her face and turned smiling to LJ, her grey eyes sparkling.

“Come here…” LJ said and patted at the seat next to him.

Selene hesitated for a few seconds, but then she moved and sat down, his arm sneaking around her slim waist, his lips setting a butterfly kiss on her cheek.

She bit her lower lip – all the time since their little encounter in LJ’s bed this morning she was fighting with herself. How should she tell him that it was going to fast for her without hurting LJ? And – to be true – it was not all LJ’s fault, she simply seemed to be out of control when she was with him… but… how could she tell him that without it hurting him?

She settled her head comfortably in the crook of his neck and LJ rested his cheek slightly against her, inhaling deeply.

His free hand took her right hand and intertwined his fingers with hers.

And that was it.

It was enough to be near her – he felt happy and content.

With every passing minute Selene relaxed more and more.

The steady hum of the running engine and LJ’s deep and calm breath became her lullaby and she could feel her eyelids flicker.




****************************************

As LJ suddenly spoke she almost jumped out of her skin – startled she lifted her head and turned to face him.

“Selene… I’m… uhm… I hope I don’t say something wrong, but…” LJ sighed and gnawed at his bottom lip.

Selene’s heart started to race – what did he wanted to tell her?

She squeezed his hand and smiled with a confidence up to him she didn’t feel.

LJ smiled back and cleared his throat.

“I… you will think I’m a total twat… but… I… I really like you …”

Now he shifted uncomfortably and his hand left hers to ruffle nervously through his already tousled hair.

Then he took a deep breath and started anew,

“I like you more than I have ever liked a girl, Selene. And – I don’t want to get it wrong. I – I mean… I have the feeling that we… move to quickly…” he flushed with this words and his glance flickered to her eyes and darted down in his lap at his hands.

“IhaveneverhadagirlfriendbutIfeelthatI’mrushingforwardandthatI’mscaringyouwithit” he suddenly choked out and turned away from her, now crimson red.

Selene’s eyes grew big and it took her some moments to find the sense in his double-dutch but then her smile widened and she moved her hand to turn his face to her.

Hesitatingly he obeyed and his troubled eyes met hers – Selene nodded slightly, then bent forward and kissed him.

Just a kiss… with closed lips, but soft and warm and a few seconds to long to be only a kiss of a friend.

LJ exhaled and lent his forhead against hers, his hands stroking her shiny hair, unknowingly mimicking his uncle’s movements after kissing Sara in the infirmary.

“You’re not mad?” he asked hoarsely.

Selene sneaked her arms around his neck and kissed him again, this time nibbling slightly at his bottom lip before pulling away, then she shook her head.

Feeling relieved and dizzy now after tasting her again a tiny smile started to play in the corner of his lips and LJ longed for another kiss, a deeper one – but restrained himself.

Selene pointed at his beeper and took her own to send him a message.


*I’m not mad… how could I? I’ve struggled all the time how I could tell you that it was… amazing, but way to much for me without hurting you.*

She looked up at him to read his face, than typed again:

*I’m so relieved you told me that, because… *smiles* …because I have never had a boyfriend, too… *bites lips* Does… that mean… you like me to be your girlfriend?*

And again she looked up at him, her now trembling hand nestling nervously with her scarf.

LJ’s eyes flitted over the first part of the message Selene had sent to him.

“You have no idea how relieved I am that you’re not mad at me… and Selene – please… if something is bothering you – tell me! I… I don’t want to do something wrong!” He took her trembling hand in his and smiled at her, but was startled at her nervous demeanour.

He looked back at his beeper and read the rest. So she had never had a bf before? His heart swelled at this remark – and stood stock-still at the next, ‘Does… that mean… you like me to be your girlfriend?’.

LJ gulped nervously, suddenly his mouth was dry and his hands started sweating.

Now or never, LJ… he thought.

He looked up at her, still holding her small hand in his and tried a smile.

“I… I really would love you to be my girlfriend…” and smiled shyly at her.

Selene’s head jerked around, her grey eyes sparkling with happiness and before LJ knew it, she was laying in his arms, her scent once again overwhelming his senses and they kissed… long, soft, sensual… his hands never leaving ‘safe ground’, only touching her face, neck, shoulders, back… and hair…

Drinking in her warmth and vitality, her softness and beauty…

Eventually they let go of each other, eyes softened and dark – and LJ stretched out his arms for her… Selene didn’t hesitate and snuggled up to him, relishing his warm body holding hers.

It didn’t take long until both were sleeping safe and sound, each feeling secure in the presence of the other.




****************************************

Their journey took longer than intended – a big accident with several cars and trucks blocked the Route 17 and it took the rescue teams hours to recover the injured and to clean up the place so that the traffic could flow again.

That left Selene and LJ much time to intensify their fresh relationship.

They ‘talked’ and laughed alot.

LJ learned that Selene was really able to defend herself, of course her aunt had taught her some techniques. And she could not only use the sign language – she was trained to read from lips as well.

She may not be deaf, but she had thought that it could be useful to learn this skill and she had been able to help the AC with watching the recordings of conversations via surveillance cameras and reading from the lips of the watched members of the company.

LJ was fascinated… she was so delicate and yet so strong…

Finally LJ insisted in learning the sign language.

Seeing Selene and her Aunt and most of the others communicating with their hands had impressed him and he wanted to be Selene as near as possible… and that included him delving into her world.

He couldn’t imagine what it was like not be able to talk… but he wanted to be able to talk to her without the cold and impersonal feeling of a device in his hands, especially when she was so close…

So Selene started to teach him the basics – and they had much fun together.

When they finally arrived in Durango it was much later than planned – instead of being there in the early evening they actually arrived in the early hours, all tired and fed up… the kids were asleep and the adults discussed what to do, then they split up and only Jane, Aldo and Kevin remained, driving two of the SUV’s.

They approached the entrance and check point of ‘Rose Creek’ and Jane showed their ID’s and named the security number and password to enter the secure village.

When she opened the door of Kevin’s van to let the security check it she gasped at the sight of the teens – Selene nestled against LJ, his arms cuddling her protectively, both children relaxed in sleep, not realizing that they were being watched by four sets of prying eyes.

“Young love, eh?” with these words the security guard waved them through and slowly they drove to the safe house, crossing empty streets and lit, but sleeping houses to finally halt in front of a big, secluded mansion amidst the heart of the little village.

It looked dark and abandoned, not a soul to see, no sign of any visitors…

Jane and Kevin killed the engines and the three adults left the SUV’s.

Aldo took his cell phone and dialled Linc’s number, but it rang out without being answered.

Why wasn’t Linc picking up the phone? A slight feel of dread took possession of Aldo and his glance darted nervously to the dark house. His sons must have arrived hours before… where were they?

Jane – still pondering over her discovery and her need to grab hold of the Burrows brat and shake him to his senses - looked inquiring at Aldo, and Aldo closed the phone with a sigh and nodded slightly.

Without another question Jane drew her gun, released the safety and vanished into the dark, barely making a sound.

Both men stood waiting quietly in the cool of the night, scrutinizing the darkness with their senses, waiting for a sign from Jane, waiting for her assurance that it was ok to enter the safe house…





****************************************

Back in windy Chicago another protagonist made last minute arrangements to catch a flight to Durango, Colorado.

Bill Kim was angry… angry like never before.

If you didnt know him, you would not be aware of his anger.

But if you did know him, the indications of his smoldering anger were crystal clear.

He stood in his tastefully arranged bureau and fixed his tasteful and expensive necktie and stared at his own, smiling face.

The more he thought about the little mistakes made over the last days and weeks the wider his smile stretched over his face…

He stared at his reflection and at his wide smile and could feel the hot anger pulsating through his veins.

First those idiots Kellerman and Hale blew it and Scofield hadn't been dealt with.

A hired killer inside Fox River who should resolve the problem ‘Burrows’ was found dead after the riots – and Burrows was still alive.

Than that little bitch Donovan had dared to speak to the press…

An old and long awaited enemy had finally raised his head from the mud but again disappeared without a trace before they could lay hand on him…

Burrows had not been executed, instead, the ‘remains’ of Steadman had been unearthed… Thank god he had insisted they pull the idiot's teeth – without this special measure of precaution they would have been screwed…

Governor Tancredi had snooped around, leading to his sudden death - but had been able to pass that damned piece of information to his daughter!

Then – unbelievably – that bastard Scofield had actually managed to break his brother out of prison!

And – not that all of this hadn’t been enough - that bitch Reynolds had somehow managed to become president! They still hadn’t found out how she had done it – but Kim was sure she had her well-manicured fingers in the death of President Mills…

And now to the newest failures…

Kellerman had vanished instead of following his orders.

And… his experts had just half an hour before confirmed that Dr. Sara Tancredi still was alive!

He had let them check the photos Mahone had sent him – and they had compared them and she was breathing on them! The volume of her chest measurement was changing from picture to picture – her death was a fake!

He had tried to reach Mahone – but Mahone didn’t answer.

So he was a traitor.

With deft fingers he finished knotting his tie and stared into his cold eyes, the smile still evident in his face, and still growing...

It was now time for him, Bill Kim, to go out into the field and to fix it.

Mahone had betrayed him? Fine… So he would go out there and make Mahone pay… he would go and visit Mahone’s family in ‘Rose Creek’, Durango.

He had seen pictures of Pamela Mahone… and of Cameron.

Sweet kid, very nice wife.

Anyone watching Bill Kim now wouldn’t believe it possible – but his smile widened even more…

It would be so much fun to let them pay for the failures of Mahone.

He had just talked with ‘The Padman’ – and he had been very clear.

Kim’s hand slipped into his pocket and retrieved a white slip of paper and stared down at it, reading it again.

“Make them pay excessively for his failure. Smash them, each bone in their bodies, but leave their faces untouched… and take care that every second of it is filmed… When he comes home I want him to hear their screaming voices from the speakers, and watch their little farewell party on the TV… Oh – and Bill - what you do with them before you kill them is yours… just leave their faces untouched… and have fun…”

Now the smile on his masklike face contorted and a strange gleam flashed in his dark eyes.

He would have fun… that was for sure…
End Notes:
:)
Soooo... there had been some loving in this chapter... I hope you like? ;)

And... I would love to hear from my readers... good or bad?

Reviews help me to write more - and to get me in MiSa-feeling... :)

;)
Chapter 20 - Durango / Rose Creek by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
*waves*
Hello to my readers! :)
I know I have some... and I hope you all will like this chapter! ;)
.
*********************
Durango / Rose Creek
*********************

Chewing his bottom lip nervously, Linc neared the checkpoint.

One of the security guards – his name tag identified him as Mr. Warner - waved them aside to one of the free parking booths and Linc followed his directions.

Michael lowered his window and Mr. Warner smiled at them,

"Welcome to Rose Creek, what can I do for you?”

Clearing his throat Michael answered,

“We’re here to meet with friends – I called earlier…”

“Hm… I see… I’ll need to control your papers and your car, then you have to sign the entry-book and I’ll give you the keys for the house…”

Michael and Linc exchanged a surprised glance. Fuck! Was that the wrong guard? How could they show identification without getting recognised, how should they sign in, what names should they use?

Michael’s heartbeat increased and his mind raced to provide a plan B, they needed a way out, they were trapped, it would only take seconds before the guard would sense there was something wrong, before he would call for reinforcement…

He watched in slow motion as Mr. Warner bent forwards and handed him his clip board and a pen, dabbing with his finger at a dotted line at the end of the document,

“Please sign here… and use this.”

His finger stabbed at something on the top of the clip board.

With a mouth as dry as the desert Michael’s eyes slowly followed the movement of the finger – and grew wide…





*****************************************

Both his and Lincoln's faces - slightly altered - smiled back up at him… two passports were clipped to the board.

With a noticeable jolt his senses returned to normal and a quick glance upwards at Mr. Warner’s friendly smiling face rewarded him with a conspiratorial wink.

“If you please would sign here, Mr. Sanders… and here, Mr. Barrow…” the guard repeated with a loud and friendly voice.

Michael grinned relieved and did as he was told, then he passed the clip board to Lincoln – but Linc stared nonplussed at the fake passport and didn’t move. “Sign it!” hissed Michael and nudged him in the shoulder.

“Oh… yeah… ‘course…” Linc mumbled and signed as ‘Mr. Barrow’, then gave the clip board back to Mr. Warner.

The guard nodded smiling and pulled the passports from the board.

“Gentleman, your ID’s… now please step out, I need to control the car as well.”

Again he winked at them and added in a low whisper,

“It has to look real for my colleagues there…”

The brothers obeyed and held their heads down – Michael stuffed his hands in his pockets and waited, his mind racing. So the AC had provided them with new passports? That was… surprising… Why would they do that? What did they expect from them for their help?

The sound of the closed trunk shook him out of his thoughts.

“All fine here, thanks for your co-operation. Here is a little map, I have marked the location of the house of your friends, it’s 91 West End Avenue, the big one across the house with the white fence and red door… you can’t miss it!

I wish you a nice time in Rose Creek!”

Both brothers nodded their thanks and entered the car again.

“Oh… and… it has been a privilege for me to meet Aldo’s sons… take care!”

He tipped his cap with his fingers, smiled at them and stepped back, turned away and joined his fellow guards in the small building.

Linc started the engine, put it in reverse gear and pulled out of the parking place.

His eyes darted nervously to his brother – Michael seemed to be deep in thought.

He took the map out of Michael’s long fingers, glanced at it and made his way slowly to the safe house, pondering over how to tell his little brother that their father was back in their life – and that after 30 years…





*****************************************

The house turned out to be an impressive mansion – it was very big, modern, Mediterranean in style and it was situated in a secluded area, surrounded by a nice, high fence and a line of trees and bushes.

Lincoln whistled through his teeth.

“Wow… working for the Anti-Company seems to pay well…”

Michael turned and looked sharply at him,

“Does that mean that we are now working for them? Is that the reason they have given us new passports, saved LJ, helped us? Have you sold our skins to them?”

Lincoln stopped the car and turned to his brother,

“Whoah – hold your horses, cowboy… Lets go in, settle down and…” he gulped “and… I will tell you… something.”

Linc couldn’t bear Michaels scrutinizing and accusing glance any longer and averted his eyes, examining his fingernails with a sudden interest.

Michael exhaled and rubbed his temples. His headache had returned and he felt like he would explode soon.

“I knew it… there’s a hook hidden in all of this… but you’re right – let’s discuss it in there… I want to be off the streets now…” he mumbled.

Linc nodded and pressed a button on the key they had got – and the gate swung slowly open.

Cautiously they followed the long lane up to the mansion and searched for a place to park the car – and found a nice little underground garage at the back of the house.

They drove in, left the car, took some of their luggage and entered the house.

“Jeez… it’s humongous” Linc dropped the backpacks where he stood and stared open mouthed at the gigantic living area and the modern and expensive integrated kitchen.

Michael nodded, absorbing all the details and admiring the open architecture and elegant furniture, noticing a basket with fresh fruit on the kitchen isle and a vase of flowers on the dining table.

Obviously they had been expected… he sighed.

It was futile to worry about that now. Now they were here. And without LJ they would go nowhere. Nor would he without Sara, not before he had a chance to explain everything...

Shaking his head he said,

“Come on – let’s look for the rooms, I want to shower as soon as possible, have something to eat – and then I want to hear what you haven’t told me so far...”

Linc grunted satisfied – he had just opened the fridge and peered inside: it was filled to the hilt with goods – but now he turned and watched Michael determinedly strolling upwards.

He gulped audibly. Oh fuck… that would be fun…




*****************************************

Michael went through the aisle of the first floor – taking in the warm Mediterranean style and generous design, mechanically calculating the statics.

He opened the doors to the rooms and looked inside – as expected, he found several sleeping rooms, all with big windows and access to the patio which rounded the first floor and a huge extravagant bathroom with an expressive mosaic in cool shades of blue, green and silver, showing jumping dolphins and waves, a shower-cubicle and a over-sized, comfortable looking bathtub.

He continued his inspection of the second floor and found an impressive library, four more sleeping rooms and a second bathroom – identical to the one in the first floor, the only difference was the colour and the motive of the mosaic… this time it showed the sun, the tiles wearing the bright colours of orange, red and gold in warm shades.

Finally he chose a two-windowed corner room on the second floor and stepped inside; the warm, rich colours in sienna-red, ochre and cream soothed him and the two windows – one to the east, one to the south - guaranteed light and above all the early morning light…

Since he had been in prison Michael enjoyed the freedom of watching the sun rise and fall – better said, to watch the sun whenever he wanted to do so.

In Fox River he had only seen the sun when they had the time in the courtyard and sometimes short glimpses at the evening sun when he had an late appointment in the infirmary, and he had missed this little privilege every free man called his own…

Back in his old life he had always been up early, to take a run or to use the indoor swimming pool attached to the apartment complex – and he loved to be alone… it soothed his LLI and helped him to handle it… So every day he watched the sun rise above the horizon, but without paying much attention, he had took it for granted – until it was too late… He had missed this little bit of personal freedom so much.

Michael sighed. Again he was thinking about Fox River… it seemed being imprisoned had left it's mark on his soul, too.

Unstoppable his thoughts returned to what was hunting him now night and day.

He had paid a high prize for wanting his brother alive and free – but he had done it voluntarily.

Several other persons hadn’t a choice in this… they had been forced into this game by HIS doing – and most of them were dead now, or had lost too much.

He drew a big, shaking breath and closed his eyes, his fingers massaging slowly his temples.

All the guilt he felt – it was a part of the price he was paying. But it was something that had suddenly sprung up, he had never planned for those things to happen, he had never thought about what he would do to others, how he would affect their lives.

Ok, he hadn’t known that he would fall in love with the doctor… and that he had to involve her into his flight plans… He hadn’t planned to hurt guards on his way or to break T-Bag out of prison… and… whatever happened to Lisa, Adrian, LJ and Veronica – how on earth could he have known that there were more players in the game than the D.O.C. or CO’s, FBI and Police?

Michael frowned. There was that thought again.

He still couldn’t get it straight, but on the ride from Chicago to Utah he hadn’t been able to get rid of the feeling that somehow there was more to this… why should somebody kill Lisa and her partner to compromise LJ?

Why had somebody shot Veronica? She told Lincoln that she had found Terence Steadman, that he was alive… but how could this be?

What was it? What was behind all of this?

And – in the first place – why had his brother been framed for the murder of Steadman? Who wanted that man dead? And why choose they his brother? Was he just at the wrong time at the wrong place?

Another question was why had ‘they’ been so keen to see Lincoln dead? Michael couldn’t remember another case where a murderer who had been found guilty was faced with the chair in such a short period. Was it just because Steadman was the brother of the Vice President? Or because they wanted to silence Lincoln, to avoid the truth unravelling?

It didn’t fit… nothing did fit in this… and he hadn’t been able to put the puzzle together and it was driving him crazy!

He sighed again and opened his shirt – maybe the AC would have some answers for them…

He shrugged it of and hung it up neatly, then removed his other clothing, wincing in pain as he bent down to get rid of his shoes.

Damn it… T-Bag really had done a number on him…

Michael stepped in front of a large mirror and looked critically at himself – even through the blue patterns of ink he could see the bruises blossom on his chest and stomach, ugly dark purple shadows that shouldn’t be there.

The swelling had gone completely but the cut was definitely inflamed now. Shit…

And the bruising around his eyes had started to drift and spread slightly, it had faded a bit and graced his cheekbones too…

Michael grimaced – fine… at least he didn’t look like a racoon now… only like a freak.

He turned away with a sigh and tried not to think about what Sara would say when she arrived…

Sara… With pure willpower he shoved any thoughts at her away. It was to hurtful…

He searched for a fresh, dark, long sleeved hoodie and simple dark blue jeans, fresh underwear, his shampoo, shower gel, shaving supplies and toothbrush.

Then he put all up to a proper pile and slipped into a white, fluffy bathrobe which he had spotted on a hanger on the back of the entrance door.

Finally he made his way to the bathroom, enjoying his first shower since their break out – and his first shower in weeks without other men around - letting the hot spray work the tension out of his sore muscles, washing away the grime and sweat and T-Bag's fingerprints on him.

Washing away all his thoughts and sorrows… at least for the time he stood in the cubicle…

Then he stepped out, towelled himself carefully dry and tried to avoid his bruises as much as possible.

It was difficult to use his shaver on his sore face, but he gritted his teeth and soon he was satisfied with the smooth feeling of his skin beneath his fingers.

He slipped on the fresh clothes he had brought with him and felt clean and slightly relaxed - and more like himself than he had in weeks…

Another evaluating glance at his reflection in the mirror – now something to eat and some painkillers and he would be ready for anything Lincoln had to tell him.





*****************************************

In the meantime, Linc had freshened up in the ample pool outside then cooked some noodles and pasta with salad.

When Michael re-entered the living room he could hear his stomach growling at the delicious smell in the air.

Lincoln brought in two glasses of water and sat down – and both digged in.

They talked about this and that, a normal and light conversation and spared all the dangerous topics for afterwards.

Finally Linc leant back and patted his belly,

“Man – I can’t eat one bite more…”

Michael smiled at him and,

“Yeah… me too… you use still Mom’s old recipe for the sauce?”

Linc nodded,

“It’s still the best… and it was the only dish apart from Blueberry Pancakes LJ would eat when he was at my place…”

Both smiled as they remembered the sunny little child LJ had been.

Linc sighed, stood up and started to clear the table.

When he returned he handed Michael a bottle of beer and pointed at the couch in the living room.

“Okay Mikey… there’s something I have to tell you… and I fear you won't be happy about it…” Linc said and looked as guilty as hell.




*****************************************

Like Linc thought, Michael hadn’t took it well.

He sat there and had listened to all Linc had to say without uttering a word, without asking a question – hell, without any reaction other than his damn long fingers tapping a rhythm on his thighs.

Linc explained everything – from his first ‘sighting’ of their dad on the day when he was lead to the chair… he had seen his father among the audience, standing behind Michael and Veronica, wearing a baseball cap, looking all sad and stressed, but he hadn’t told Michael about it then, there had been no time, they were all too confused…

How he had asked Pope for the names of the visitors, how he had recognized the name of the Baseball-Player, how his memories had returned …

And then he had actually met his father on the day Pope had allowed him to visit LJ – and when the truck had hit his transporter, when another man had tried to take his life… His father had suddenly been there and had knocked the stranger down but they had got separated again at the wasteyard...

He remembered that he had told Michael about that encounter back in Fox River, when they sat on the floor of his cell in the SHU, when he was chained to the wall – but Michael had been too desperate, too distracted to listen… racking his brain for an alternate plan to get him free.

And then, how he had heard that name again yesterday, that this ‘William Prall’ had tried to talk to his son after his sudden release from the prison in Arizona… how he had tried to call the man only hoping that he was right, that there was a link to his father… and that he had got it right, the man who had called him back was in fact their father.

That their father worked for the AC – why and how he didn’t know so far – but that this work had collided somehow with the safety of his family, that he had left them to make them safe… but details would have to follow when their dad finally met up with them.

He told him all that – and Michael had only sat there, listening, his 1000-yard-stare unwavering, his fingers tapping.

When he had finished he searched in Michael’s face for something… for anything… but his brother’s face was blank, it gave nothing away.

“Mikey? Say something… are you ok?”

And then Michael squeezed his eyes shut, drew a shaking breath and jumped to his feet without an answer.

Startled Linc had asked “Mikey?” – but Michael brusquely turned away, opened the big glass doors leading into the dark garden and left him, sitting pondering at the couch, staring into nothingness and worried for his little brother.

No… he hadn’t taken it well… not a bit…




*****************************************

He needed air.

What Linc had told him was too much.

Their father was no alcoholic? Had never been? He was alive and well and had ‘left the family to make them safe’?

The actions of their father were to blame for the misery their life had become? Some ominous ‘Company’ their father had worked for was responsible for him leaving their little family, for setting up Lincoln, for killing all the people they loved?

All of this had started shortly before his birth?

Michael paced up and down on the terrace, repeating Lincoln’s words again and again… as if it would make sense.

Their father leaving the family in desperate attempt to save them… This ominous Company using Linc to flush their father out of his hiding place… and then: Michael’s plan to free Lincoln would have interfered with the plans of this company, so they had started to look for other ways to pressurise them - Lisa, Adrian, LJ…

Veronica had gotten involved because he asked her to and had died because of him…

All of this aftermath because he had gotten in the way of something much bigger than his brothers life… but… what for?

What were the targets of this company? Why would they do such things to lay hands on his father? What had his father done? No… the question rather was: what did his father know???

He stopped in mid-step, put his face in his hands and groaned… his headache was back full force, even more worse then before…





*****************************************

Michael made his way back into the house, closed the doors behind him and grabbed another two painkillers from the box on the kitchen board and gulped them down with a glass of water.

He needed to rest… He had no idea how he would deal with his father when he arrived… but… sleep… sleep was what he needed now, or he would deal with nothing.

Tiredly he made his way to his bedroom and slumped down on his bed.

Thankfully his physical and mental exhaustion was enough to let him fall into deep sleep within seconds…

…he even didn’t notice the dark shadow standing in the threshold, staring down at his prone sleeping figure.

Linc sighed.

He had watched over Michael’s restless pacing and pondering for over three hours now… When his little brother re-appeared in the living room, he resembled a ghost - so pale and thin had been his appearance.

Concerned he had watched him gulping down painkillers again.

How hard had T-Bag got his little brother?

But finally Michael had retreated into his room and seemed to be asleep now.

Linc rubbed his face.

Fine. And he was wide awake… hopefully some warm milk would help.

Cautiously he closed Michael’s bedroom door and walked silently downstairs without using the light – it was lit enough through the moonlight falling through the big windows.





*****************************************

The moonlight painted the night in big pools of black and shining expanses of silvery white.

The snoring of Geary drove him crazy… not for the first time since they had become ‘partners in crime’ Bellick dreamt about grabbing Geary’s fat throat and pressing the life out of him.

Since he had returned with bags full of burgers, chips and bakery Geary had been in a snit – seemed like the low-light had actually realized that Bellick had taken the mick out of him.

He smirked and took a huge bite from his donut… and sighed deeply…

If all of this mess hadn’t started he would be at home now, watching a repeat of Laurel & Hardy and eating some of Ma’s delicious chocolate cookies which she always baked for him… and not that cheap junk which tasted like dust.

Disgusted he threw the half-eaten Donut out of the window.

Damn… damn those convicts! Damn Scofield… damn… damn… damn…





*****************************************

T-Bag had changed his car and clothing.

With the right money everything was so easy… if you could be ruthless enough to pull the right strings that was…

Now he was driving a new limousine in dark blue and wearing jeans, shirt and leather jacket – and a baseball cap to avoid prying eyes on his face.

He had parked his car in a side-road and moved into position from where he had a good view of the entrance, Bellick, Geary and – most importantly – the guards office.

And there he had seen something what made him smile brightly… There were not only male guards in there… oh no…

There was a lonesome woman with all of these men… she looked nice, a bit like a scared little mouse among those men… middle aged, blonde, short hair – a little hare among the tigers…

He licked his lips whilst watching her… she was very friendly when she did her job, smiling and laughing – but when she turned he could see the smile slip from her face, she seemed sad, alone and lost when she returned to her colleagues…

His grin widened… easy prey… she would have nothing to answer against him, she would quickly succumb to his charm…

All he had to do was to wait for her finishing her shift and then bump into her… and then… he would see where this would lead too…

Smiling silently he stood motionless… prying… planning… waiting…

…and when she finally said her goodbyes to her colleagues and stepped falteringly out into the dark of the night he followed her…




*****************************************

Linc had left the terrace door slightly ajar and had settled down in one of the comfortable chairs in the living room, a big glass of warm milk in his hands, enjoying the soft cool wind blowing in - and was lost in his thoughts… The minutes ticked by but he didn’t even notice it…

Like his brother before him, he tried desperately to find some sense in all what had happened to them and their beloved, but he failed miserably.

Suddenly he caught form the corner of his eye a slight movement outside in the dark, partially moonlit garden.

Damn! Alerted and wide awake he deposited the glass on the table beside and crouched down on the floor, hiding in the deeper shadows of the kitchen isle.

There he turned and examined with wide open eyes the terrace – and he hadn’t been wrong… somebody was out there!








*****************************************

He racked his brain what to do now… and then he saw it - dark metal gleamed deadly in the moonlight.

Shit! Muttering cusswords Linc tried to find a knife in the dark kitchen, but it was too late – the stranger sneaked silently towards the slightly opened door and he could see white fingers grabbing around the frame and sliding the door soundless aside.

Linc dropped down to the floor again, gritted his teeth and squeezed his eyes shut.

Damn it! The door!

Silently he moved his head around the isle and could see the dark silhouette standing motionless, obviously listening intently into the dark.

Then the stranger turned and closed slowly the door, avoiding each sound which could be made and Lincoln used these seconds and crept silently away from the kitchen isle and into the hall.

There he stood up and pressed himself against the little wall beside the door frame.

He had no weapons… his only chance was to surprise the intruder and to disarm him.

Linc could feel droplets of sweat running down his face and neck whilst he pricked his ears to gather the faintest sound from the living room – and was finally rewarded with soft footsteps nearing him.

He bit deeply into his lip to control his breathing and tried to penetrate the darkness – and then he could spot a little difference on the moonlit floor tiles which he could overlook from his hideout – they got darker… the sudden shadows formed slowly into a humanlike shape when the stranger stepped cautiously nearer.

Now he could feel the air thicken around him, all the tiny hairs on his skin raised and his wide opened eyes got sight of white hands holding black and deadly metal steady.





*****************************************

Holding his breath he waited until he could see both upper arms entering his sight, then he launched forward, grabbed the arms tightly and pulled his knee upwards to knock the weapon out of the intruders hands and landed at the same second a clean headbutt in the strangers face, eliciting a stifled sound of pain before he pulled his right hand away and hustled his opponent fiercely backwards.

This sent the stranger with a satisfying groan flying to the floor and with one fluent motion Linc pressed the light switch and was sitting over his competitor before he even had a chance to recover, his left fist closed around his throat, his right squeezing the wrists of the stranger tightly against each other on the floor…

…and stared with flaring nostrils and smoldering anger down into the widened and deep blue eyes of a beautiful woman with honeyblonde hair, splayed in soft curls around her face, panting heavily and dabbing with her tongue cautiously at her injured bottom lip.

He had been ready to kick the crap out of the stranger to defend his brother and himself against all odds - but blinked now in surprise at the woman who was pinned at the floor through his weight.

And now she chuckled slightly and said,

“Bang! Your dead, Burrows… don’t ever hesitate to cut off an armed stranger…” her velvet voice sounded strangely amused and aroused at the same time.

Linc could feel adrenaline rushing through his body and suddenly an almost carnal tension filled the air.

He couldn’t deny that she felt good underneath him… so soft and curvy and she smelt like lilies and… damn… it had been too long… he could feel all his blood going south and fought against it – now was not the time!

He snorted,

“I’m not the one pinned down to the floor like a butterfly, Lady… so don’t risk your neck and tell me – “

And before he even knew what was happening she bucked up against him and switched her feet and hips and all of a sudden it was her straddling him, it was him laying on his back and staring up at her, his eyes wide in surprise and he could see her eyes dancing in amusement as she bent down to whisper in his ear, her soft lips almost touching his sensitive skin whilst her silken hair caressed his cheeks and chest…

“You’re a lucky man, Mr. Burrows, because I’m working with your father… if I was on the payroll of the company you would be dead by now…” she purred and pulled back to watch his reaction to her words through half closed eyes, her long eyelashes casting soft shadows on her cheeks, then she grinded her delicate bottom in his groin and shook her hair back, smiling knowingly down at him as he exhaled heavily and his pupils dilated in desire.

He could feel himself react to her but at the same moment she rose gracefully at her feet and offered her hand to help him up.




*****************************************

Lincoln gulped and looked up at her, taking his time to study her…

Long, lean legs clad in dark jeans and motorbike boots, slender hips, a dark tanktop with white, delicate flesh visible at her plunging neckline, breathtaking curves moving alluringly under her heavy breathing, a short, red leather jacket perfecting her outfit, and long, honeyblonde, soft curls of hair playing around a classic, harmonious face with stunning blue eyes and the most tantalizing, full lips he had ever seen.

“Are you ready or do you need a picture?” she asked playfully and finally he snapped out of his daydream and took her hand – and surprisingly strong she pulled him up on his feet, staying tall in front of him, her eyes meeting his almost at the same level.

Dumbfounded he stared at her, his eyes dropping down again to her lips and now he realized the swelling and blood - and again her tongue darted out to lick at the injury he had caused.

Linc moved his hand to his mouth, dabbed at his own lip and nodded in her direction.

“Sorry…” he said quietly, scolding himself for his inability to form a complete sentence in her presence.

She twinkled at him,

“No need to… you’re not bad, taking me out like this… I’m Jane by the way…”

Linc grinned sheepishly at her,

“Uhm – I’m – uhm… Lincoln.”





*****************************************

Jane laughed softly,

“Yeah, I know that… you and your brother are ok? Why didn’t you answer the phone? Aldo is worried because of that…”

Now he groaned,

“Oh… the phone! I… it’s up in my room! I couldn’t sleep and went down to drink some milk and got lost in thoughts… I didn’t hear it…”

Her smile widened in a big grin at hearing that this prime example of masculinity had been drinking milk because of insomnia.

Linc blushed slightly and changed the subject,

“So Aldo and LJ are here? Where is my son?”

At the mention of LJ an unrecognizable emotion flitted over Jane’s features and Linc got nervous,

“Is everything ok?”

Jane smiled at him, again under control. She had just remembered that LJ was cuddling up with her niece and that she hadn’t had time to adjust at that thought… someone touching her little girl…

“Yeah, everything is fine… wait a moment – I’ll call them in… Where’s Michael? Sleeping?”

Linc nodded, a concerned expression on his face.

“He’s sleeping now – but he doesn’t feel good… He’s denying it, but it looks like T-Bag got him bad, and he’s in more pain than he’s willing to admit…”

Jane pursed her full lips and nodded,

“We will take care of it tomorrow… maybe there’s something we can do for him.”, than she took her cell phone and dialled a number.

“Aldo? You can come in, all is fine, your sons are here…”.

She flipped it closed again and bent down to retrieve her weapon from the floor, remembering how Linc had ambushed and disarmed her - and felt a twinge of desire deep within her core. Licking her suddenly dry lips she secured her gun with deftly fingers and tucked it away in the back of her jeans before she turned to face Lincoln again - and caught him staring at her like he had never seen a woman. Well – to be true – it had to be more or less exactly three years for him to be as close to a woman as he had been to her just a few moments ago - except maybe from appointments in the infirmary or from visits of his lawyer…

But before she could say anything they could hear a key turning in the lock and the front door opened.

In stepped Kevin, followed by Aldo and two very sleepy looking kids – until LJ got sight of his father, that was…

“Dad!” with two big steps Lincoln passed her and pulled his son in a big bear hug, LJ weeping openly whilst Linc fought against the tears threatening to spill over.

Jane forced herself to losen her glance from the little family reunion to take a look at her niece – and found her watching LJ and his father with tears in her eyes, a happy and touched expression on her face, her eyes shining softly.

Jane exhaled. Jeez… it seemed like her little girl had fallen for a Burrows… carefully she dabbed at her throbbing lip and shrugged slightly.

Maybe falling for a Burrows was becoming a family habit…





*****************************************

There was so much to tell – but after a look at the exhausted faces all agreed in adjourning the talk until breakfast.

LJ would take the room beside his father at the first floor, Aldo the room on the opposite.

Jane made sure that she had the room opposite LJ’s and Selene the one beside her and Kevin took the last spare room on the first floor.

That left two spare bedrooms beside the one Michael had taken in the second floor.

Aldo had talked shortly with Lincoln about Michael and shared his concerns – they would try to deal with his stubborn youngest in the morning. But like Linc told him it would not be easy to get through to him.

Jane and Kevin left the house to control the fence and the area and to set up the alarm system.





*****************************************

LJ sneaked up to Selene to give her a proper hug and a good night kiss, the happiness he radiated made her feel happy too.

With a nervous glance at the stairs where Jane had just disappeared he ran a digit from her temple over her cheek to her collarbone before he cupped her face and kissed her sweet mouth.

“Good night, Selene…” he mumbled and Selene smiled against his lips before she pulled away, her cool fingers tailing softly the line of his lips. Then she lifted herself onto her tiptoes to graze his cheek with a quick peck before she retreated silently into her room, one last smile, a wave of her lean hand – and her door was closed.

Smiling widely LJ walked into his room, stripped down to his boxers and climbed in his bed, feeling at one with the world now that his father was with him again and his heart full with his love for Selene…





*****************************************

Linc hadn’t had much time to come to terms with his uproar on feelings – first the sorrow over his brother, then the adrenaline kick, the sudden and fierce arousal caused through the undeniable womanly body beneath his own, the sting of guilt at feeling what he had felt for another woman only a few days after his Vee had died, than the reunion with his son and his father…

No wonder he felt overwhelmed…

His head was buzzing with all what had happened – was it this what Michael must experience all the time with his LLI?

Linc felt like he must burst in pieces…

Maybe he should… should…

…and with that unfinished thought he drifted away in the world of dreams… full of smiling lips, twinkling blue eyes and soft blonde locks…





*****************************************

Thanks to LJ, Linc was up at his feet at 8 a.m. again.

Selene and LJ had been awake early and had prepared breakfast for all…

Jane and Kevin had eaten something – and had then retreated to their rooms to take a nap. They had been on their feet all night to secure the mansion. The systems where running now and so they could claim their much needed sleep.

Selene had asked her aunt about her swollen lip, but Jane had only laughed and told her that she hadn’t been careful enough.

Frowning a bit Selene thought about what that could mean when Jane started “Oh, Hunny” and then changed into sign language and gestured to her *be careful… I don’t want that you to get hurt… he seems to be a nice young man – but… just be careful, ok?*

Selene blushed deeply and motioned back *I will… but… how do you know?*

Jane smiled at her and answered *I just know, Selene… and I don’t want you to get hurt. Please – you know that you can come to me whenever you need me, right?*

Her niece nodded and answered *I know that… thank you. I love you!*

“I love you too…” answered Jane with her velvet voice, than she turned, flashed a tired but bright smile at a confused looking Lincoln who was standing with only a half-buttoned crisp white shirt in the doorframe, watching the partially wordless exchange with a furrowed brow.

“Good morning!” she said softly, taking in his tall figure filling the doorframe and his tanned chest peeking through the undone shirt and moved swiftly around him – barely avoiding touching him in process - and went to her room, smiling silently to herself at his stunned expression.

Immediately affected by Jane’s closeness Linc stumbled a,

“Uhm… good morning, ladies!” and was rewarded with an open smile from Selene, than she gestured for him to sit down on the breakfast table.

Lincoln smiled back at her and asked,

“Sorry girl, I think I hadn’t got your name yesterday… I’m Lincoln by the way!”

LJ – sitting at a bar stool at the counter and who had watched that ‘talk’ between Selene and her aunt, too – wasn’t sure how to react; Should he explain it to his father or would Selene want to explain it herself?

Nervously he took a bun from the basket and said,

“Ah, sorry, Dad… Dad, that is Selene, Jane’s niece – Selene, this is my father, Lincoln Burrows…”

Selene smiled thankfully at LJ and stuck her hand out to Linc, and Linc shook it friendly, wondering why the girl didn’t talk to him. Was she that shy?

“Nice to meet you, Selene… and thanks for the breakfast, it looks delicious!”

Again he got a beautiful smile in return, but no answer.

Then the pale girl busied herself with a small device in her hands, and suddenly a beeping noise resounded from another device at the worktop near LJ.

Linc looked curiosly at his son who took the pager and seemed to read something, than LJ looked up at him and said,

“Selene asks you if you would prefer coffee or tea with your breakfast!”

The frown on Linc’s face increased, he turned to Selene and answered absent-mindedly,

“Coffee, please…”

Selene nodded and filled in a big mug with steaming hot Java and put it down on the counter.

Lincoln thanked her and bit his lip whilst he was sugaring his coffee generously.

Then he looked up at her and asked,

“Sorry if I’m a bit forward now – but you can’t talk, is that right?”

He could see her cute face sadden but then she smiled at him again, shrugged and nodded.

LJ couldn’t help himself and took Selene’s small hand in his and squeezed it reassuringly, something not unnoticed by Linc.

The girl dropped onto the free chair between the both Burrows' men and grabbed an apple from the basket, parting it neatly with a knife.

Only seconds later LJ was telling him the whole story, what had happened to him after Mahone had blasted their escape attempt at the courthouse.

Linc shook his head sadly… there were so many experiences he would wish his son had never had… but he seemed to be more adult now…

Through what he had been through, it had changed his son, he could see it.

And that girl seemed to have her slender hands in this change, too.

There was no way to oversee how aligned they were – not even he could be that blind…





*****************************************

A short, sharp knock, then,

“Mikey – you’re awake?”

Linc opened the door with these words and found his little brother half-naked in front of a big dressing mirror – again he was overwhelmed from the intricate and stunning full sleeve tattoo his brother was wearing.

He couldn’t quite adjust to the thought that Michael – his well-behaved and guarded baby brother – had gotten his whole upper body tattoed only in hope to save him.

All this sacrifice, all this pain… all only for him…

“Jeez – Linc – don’t you ever wait for an invitation before you stomp into a room?” Michael asked tiredly and reached for his crumpled shirt and slipped it quickly back over his head – but it was too late – Linc had seen the deep black and purple bruises covering his ribcage... they looked nasty and rather painful.

“Sorry bro… It’s almost 9 a.m. now, and breakfast is ready… LJ wants to see his uncle.”

Michaels face lit up,

“LJ is here? When did he arrive? Is he ok?”

Linc laughed and raised his hands in a placatory gesture,

“Easy Mike… how would it be if you come down, eat something and ask him yourself? He has quite a story to tell… and… you really should see him – he’s so in love…”

Michael looked questioning at his now chuckling brother.

“In love? What do you mean with ‘in love’?”

“Well, come downstairs – and you will find out…”

“Ok – just give me a few minutes in the bathroom then I’ll be there…”

Suddenly he frowned.

“Uhm… when LJ’s there… does that mean… our… he…” Michael couldn’t bring the word father over his lips… to be true he had difficulties in general to address this man in his thoughts.

He was not used to thinking much about the man who had begetted him. When he had been little – yes… There had always been the question in his mind why his father had left him.

But he hadn’t wasted a thought over him for a long time.

And now he was here? Alive? Allegededly no alcoholic, allegededly saving them with being absent?

How should he address him? Father? Aldo? He sighed… he didn’t know how to handle this situation.

Linc had somehow sensed the thoughts of his brother.

“Aldo is still sleeping, Mike. He…” Lincoln shrugged.

“Just listen to what he has to say, ok? You don’t need to call him daddy and fling your arms around his neck… just… listen… oh, and Mike – Jane will take a look at your injuries… and no chance to talk you out of this, bro! You’re in pain, and you need to be looked after… promise me!” he demanded.

Michael glared at him, but could see the usual stubbornness on his brother’s face and a high amount of concern.

“Who’s Jane?” he tried to deflect.

“Jane? Jane is… uhm… you will see… She’s the blonde amazon who’s with them – you can’t miss her – she’s… uhm… ” Lincoln rubbed sheepishly his head and shrugged again his shoulders,

“…but that’s important now – let her check you, ok? I need you well and in one piece!”

Michael sighed deeply – he was too tired for games right now.

“Ok Linc… I promise…”

Grinning from one ear to the other Linc answered cheerfully,

“Now – that’s a good boy…”

Then he retreated quickly backwards through the threshold and closed the door, just quite in time to hear something heavy knock against it from the inside.

Laughing throatily he called through the closed door,

“You know what? Go shower and than go back in your room – I’ll send Jane to you in 30 minutes… wait there for her! This way you can’t change your mind!”

He didn’t wait for an answer and turned still laughing to the stairs to return into the kitchen – that little banter had reminded him at some conversations between him and Michael when they had been 18 and 13 years old…

Then his cell phone rang and Linc scowled down at it – what the fuck – who could that be now? and answered the call slowly and carefully .......







*****************************************

Linc closed the phone and stared at it with a puzzled look on his face – it had been the doc – Michael’s doc! - she had gotten his cell phone number from Michael the night before and was now only a few minutes away from the safe house.

Dumbfounded Linc had given her the directions and the password, and a very nervous sounding Dr. Tancredi had told him “Ok, see you there!” and hung up on him.

So his bro wasn’t the only one who had fallen deeply – the doc seemed to have lost her heart, too! She had somehow gotten in contact with Michael and had followed him through the whole of America to meet up with him!

Linc shook his head. Well – he hardly could wait for Michael’s surprised face when the redhead showed up! He knew how Michael had suffered for betraying her, for leaving her behind – for not being able to make amends with her.

A slow smile crept over Lincoln’s face – maybe there was really a light at the end of the tunnel, even for his family…




*****************************************

Sara let out the breath she had involuntarily held within, closed her Cell Phone and looked up in the expectant faces of Nikki and Paul.

Clearing her throat nervously, she said,

“Ok, I’ve spoken to Lincoln – we need to drive to ‘Rose Creek’ – that’s not far from here and there we have to make a call, then we will be guided through the security checkpoint and can drive to the ‘safe house’.”

Paul frowned,

“A security checkpoint? Where the hell are they?”

“It seems like this ‘Rose Creek’ is a special residential area with extra security, a kind of ‘secure housing area’ if you want to call it that…”

Nikki nodded, than she threw a glance at Paul – who shrugged uncomfortably.

“Ok… let’s go…!”




*****************************************

Michael glanced angrily at the now closed door as his left shoe slammed harmlessly against the wood.

The voice of his brother calling,

“You know what? Go shower and then go back to your room – I’ll send Jane to you in 30 minutes… wait there for her! This way you can’t change your mind!” Lincoln was in a good mood – too good a mood for Michael's liking and his brother's words were still ringing in his ears, messing with his still unaltered heavy headache.

Why couldn’t he just leave him alone?

‘Because he loves me…’ was his silent answer and his shoulders slumped down.

Well… Linc was right… this headache was not a normal one. And when it got as bad as yesterday, he got problems with his sight and that was something he didn’t want to experience for a third time.

And his ribs – well… for sure they would heal by themselves – given time and peace. But would they have time and peace?

So Linc was right… he should let this Jane have a look at him, maybe she could ease his pain.

But he felt very uncomfortable at the thought.

What was it with him that he felt like he deserved to be in pain? How could he explain this morbid feeling to his brother when he wasn’t even able to explain it properly to himself?

Sighing heavily he grabbed his personal things and made his way into the bathroom.

He would do what his brother wanted…




*****************************************

Only a short time later they had passed the secured gate and stopped in front of a big mansion.

Sara saw a movement at the corner of her eye, turned her head away from the mansion and watched a small boy playing in the garden of a house with red door… He was squealing delightfully and ran on his chubby short legs in the direction of the fence and then a black haired woman appeared, caught him and swooped him up in her arms, both laughing happily.

Sara smiled sadly at that scene of a normal, happy life and suddenly the little boy stilled in his mother’s arms, smiled shyly and waved in her direction.

Sara waved back and forced a smile on her face, the dark haired mother smiled and waved too before she concentrated on her son again, tickling him until fresh giggled screams and laughter filled the air.

Then Lincoln appeared and the gate to the mansion swung widely open.




*****************************************

They drove in and Sara craned her neck to get a last glimpse at the happy little family living across the street, but too quickly they were out of sight and Linc closed the gate behind them before he turned to the car and glanced inside.

A frown appeared on his face at the sight of the two strangers on Sara’s side.

Sara opened her window and peered outside.

“Hey doc…”

“Lincoln.” Sara shook the melancholic thoughts away and greeted him, a small, but warm smile on her face.

“Uhm… who are your friends?” He asked her bluntly.

“That’s Nikki, my best friend and that’s Paul, uh… another friend of mine and Nikki’s boyfriend. They helped me…”

Linc eyed them up, the tiny woman appeared friendly but the guy… well… he couldn’t quite place him, but he had the feeling he knew him from somewhere and that feeling was not the best.

His inner alarm set in and he decided to keep an eye on him.

“Ok. Please drive behind the house, there’s a big garage, park your car inside…” he said, rubbing nervously at his head.

Paul, who had examined Lincoln closely and had waited for signs of recognition on the other man’s face nodded wordlessly and drove behind the mansion as ordered.

They parked inside the garage and stepped out of the car, stretching their stiff muscles.

Automatically Nikki stepped to Paul’s side and Paul pulled her in his arms, kissing her slightly at the top of her head – he couldn’t stop being amazed how petite that woman was, how good it felt to be able to touch her, to hold her – to smell her unique scent…

Sara smirked slightly – together they were quite a sight – the long frame of Paul cuddling Nikki’s small body… but they fitted perfectly together, complemented each other.

Lincoln arrived and again a bewildered frown flitted over his face when his eyes met Paul’s glance, then he turned to Sara and his confused expression changed into a concerned one.

“Fuck – Doc! What happened to you? You don’t look as healthy as the last time I saw you!” he blurted out.

Sara blushed and bit her lower lip.

“Well… let’s say… I had some difficulties on my way…” she mumbled evasively, a heavy, stressed sigh escaping her lips.

Linc pressed his lips closed and looked angry at her, suddenly aware that he was already being protective over her, that he was already counting her into his little family… Michael loved her with all his heart – that was all he needed to know… Sara was family…

With effort he forced himself to relax and sighed,

“I… uhm… I have never had the chance to thank you for what you did for us back in Fox River… not only leaving the door open that night, but also patching up Michael countless times and taking care of him. And… I'm sorry that you got involved in this. The fact that you're helping us... It means a lot. Thank you…”

Her smile came back, brighter now and lit up her face and eyes,

“You’re welcome, Linc… but… talking about Michael… uhm… where is he?” she asked and looked suddenly unsure and a bit crestfallen.

“Ah – sorry… just… let me help with the luggage and then we can go in the house… It’s maybe… uhm… good that you’re here, Sara… uhm… do you have some medical supplies with you?”




*****************************************

Half an hour later he was back in his room and had just changed his underwear and was now searching for a fresh longsleeved shirt when he heard a short rap on his door.

Michael closed his eyes in frustration and sat down on the bed – that must be Jane…

“Come in!” he answered and continued his search without turning to the door.

He could hear the person entering the room and closing the door softly behind.

Finally he had found another shirt – azure this time – and stood up to turn to his visitor when the sweet smell of orange and cinnamon overwhelmed his senses.

Michael froze in his motions and squeezed his eyes shut, his breath hitched in his sore chest and his heart stopped working.

Could it be… could it really be her?

“Michael?”
End Notes:
Dear Readers, dear Lurkers -
Maybe I can have some coments about this?
What do you think? Good, bad, what will happen?
Please - talk to me... ;)
I'm writing for you, and I would love to hear what you think so far!
Chapter 21 - Another shade of grey by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
My dear readers... I think its time... for a bit of MiSa...
What do you think? ;)
It's only a short chapter... but... I hope so much you all will like it!
And pleeeaaaasssseee - tell me what you think... pretty pretty please?
It's important for me to know if I'm doing a good or a bad job... so... just a few lines of reviewing would help me!!!
And now... I hope you will enjoy! :)
.
**********************
Another shade of grey
**********************

(((Artist: Foreigner – Song: I want to know what love is)))

Sara didn’t know how to react after Lincoln had told her Michael was injured.

A look of sheer horror spread over her face and and she could feel tears welling up.

But once more she was thankful for the doctor in her, routine set in and quickly she skimmed with Nikki through their luggage for the much needed medical supplies while Linc and Paul were staring above their heads at each other, cautiously, evaluating .......

When she had all she needed and after one last warning scowl at Paul – still unnoticed by the concerned women - Linc lead her all the way up to Michael’s door – and there he had left her.

It took Sara some time to gather enough courage but finally she knocked – and after a short and unpersonal “Come in!” she wiped her suddenly clammy hands on her jeans and closed her fingers around the doorknob.

Inwardly she was shaking and screaming, inwardly she wanted to turn and run… why was she here? What the hell had ridden her to come here?

She almost listened to her inner voice… almost she turned to leave – but it was too late… her hands reacted to his invitation and she had opened the door and despite her inner uproar and wish to turn and run her legs transported her mercilessly into the room – into his room - to him…

Barely able to breathe she forced herself to lift her head and to look at Michael.

But she was not prepared for the sight which met her…





*****************************************

Michael was clad only in jeans, crystal water droplets still glistening on his lean body and she had full sight of his inked skin, of the angel slaying the demon, of his well-defined muscles stretching and tightening, of the – she gasped for air – cruel pattern of black and purple bruises and swellings covering his upper body.

He didn’t even look in her direction as he searched for something in his backpack and when he finally found it he stood up and turned to face her – but stopped suddenly in mid-motion, inhaling sharply, his shoulders tensed, showing her nothing more than his profile...

Hesitating and with tears in her eyes Sara stepped a bit closer and her lips formed his name, spoken only with a little voice, asking, almost begging… “Michael?”

She could hear a strange, stifled sound and then, slowly, he turned to her, his eyes closed, his beautiful face showing a strange mixture of emotions.

A shaking hand fluttered to cover her mouth, her amber eyes grew big as she got sight of his beaten up face…

“Oh my god…” and with one swift movement she covered the distance and forced herself again to be a doctor, only a doctor, nothing more. There were injuries to be dealt with now – emotions had to wait.

She cleared her throat and said,

“Sit down Michael – I have to take care of this.” and was amazed how steady and professional her voice sounded despite of the struggling bittersweet emotions inside her.

Startled by the suddenly reserved sound of her voice Michael finally snapped out of his stupor and looked at her.

There she was… his beautiful angel… she looked great in the dark jeans and green top covered by a simple white blouse with undone buttons and knotted tails - but concerned he realized that she looked pale, thin and tired, a long scratch was grazing her cheek and he could see a tight bandage peeking out the long sleeves of her blouse… He frowned and opened his mouth to ask her what had happened – but she was all in a sudden so cold and distant - and somehow she seemed to be angry with him.

And she had all reason to be angry, he thought and he closed his mouth and did as he was told wordlessly, his eyes never leaving her face.





*****************************************

Sara stepped closer, feeling intoxicated with his closeness and the heat his body was emanating and laid several medical supplies down on his bed before she started to examine his face, his throat, his upper body and asked him some medical questions.

“Does this hurt? And this? Do you have a headache? Difficulties with your sight? How many fingers can you see? And now? When are you feeling dizzy? Does this only happen when you stand up or when you rest, too?” and much more questions rained down on him.

Michael answered them all in a low voice, his eyes glued to her face, he was hardly able to keep his hands from touching her, from proving to himself that she was real, that she was no dream…

“Ok… the headache, disorientation and impairment of your sight are side-effects of the heavy concussion you had suffered; take painkillers, try to lay down in a darkened room and sleep as much as possible – and you should be ok in a few days… now then you have several partially fractured ribs, I’ll apply a dressing and you promise me not to lift heavy things or to strain yourself…

And this… this I have to stitch up - again…” she told him finally and touched softly the gash above his left eye “…and you will need some antibiotics, it’s inflamed.”

Huskily he said “…just do what you need to do…”

Sara stilled in her movement and for the first time she looked him directly in his turquoise eyes, she studied him, and Michael looked back at her, his eyes soft, like open windows, it was like she could see directly into his soul.

Suddenly nervous again she averted her eyes and reached for the antiseptic, a needle, the fibre and some cotton wadding.

Searching his glance she said softly,

“This isn't going to feel good, Michael… but… you already know that…”

Michael nodded and answered,

“I have a high tolerance for pain. You know that.”

Not lowering her glance she answered with a definite colder voice,

“I do. And you're not a diabetic, are you?”

He sighed and lowered his head in shame, then reached out and touched her, ran his long fingers softly down on the inside of her arm until he reached her palm – and there they intertwined with hers, his thumb caressing slightly her sensitive skin,

“I’m so sorry, Sara…”

Sara bit her lip and fought against tears, pulled her hand back abruptly and nodded brusquely. She had suspected it, but to know for sure… it hurt… it hurt more than she would have believed it could… it had all been a lie, from the first moment he had set foot in her infirmary… it had all been a set-up…

She knew that he had done all these things to rescue his innocent brother from being electrocuted… she knew he was an upright man who had done all those things in despair, only to be a saviour after all legal methods to save his brother had failed… she knew it – but nevertheless it had been felonies and foul play, nevertheless he had played her…

Made it really a difference why he did it?

She could answer this question only for herself – and the answer was yes…

Biting her lip she had to admit that she seemingly had to adjust her view of life: there were not only black and white out there in the world… this belief had died the day she had held her dead father in her arms.

There were a million shades of grey out there… and she had only just discovered another one…





*****************************************

She sensed that she had hurt him by pulling away, but she couldn’t deal with it now, she concentrated on her treatment and poured some of the antiseptic on the wadding and started cleaning his infected wound. Michael squeezed his eyes shut and exhaled through gritted teeth as the liquid burned his torn skin and flesh.

Still closemouthed she disinfected and threaded the needle, but then she couldn’t wait any longer, she needed to know… she lowered her hand again and blurted out

“Michael, tell me something.”

He looked cautiously up at her and the sight of his battered face touched something deep within her heart, she wanted to reach out for him, touch him… hold him… kiss him… make him feel better… but she needed an answer, so she shielded her heart against him.

“You think that there is a part of you that enjoy’s this?”

He looked surprised, then a little sweet smile tugged at the corner of his mouth and he shook his head, a mischievous sparkle in his eloquent eyes.

“Peroxide in an open wound? No….”

Sara looked demurely at him and answered,

“I mean escaping from prison and being on the run and the danger, the fear, the rush… All that. It… ah… it feels to me like chasing a high. And… uhm… and I know what that's like and I should know better by now.” Her voice trailed away and she averted her eyes to hide her shame and embarassement.

Bewildered, he looked back at her, the smile had dropped from his face and Michael seemed to listen deeply into himself before he answered slowly,

“I never thought about it like that…” and seemed to be slightly disturbed by that suggestion.

Sara sighed “Keep still.” and started the suturation of his cut – and again she was thankful for her training because to watch the signs of pain in Michael’s face, to know exactly how much it must hurt because of her own too fresh experiences and to feel him tense under her hands, whilst she was working on him almost broke her heart.

“What happened, Michael? Who did this to you?”





*****************************************

“What happened, Michael? Who did this to you?”

There it was… the question he had waited for, the question he had feared…

Michael sighed deeply… he had known that she would ask this question, sooner or later.

What should he answer? Was he ready for that? Was he really ready to open up to her, to let her in? And… was she ready for what she would find?


** I gotta take a little time **
** A little time to think things over **



He winced slightly as her skilled hands finished the last stitch on his cut, his face a grimace of pain and responded evasively

“Well – there were some unexpected complications...”


** I better read between the lines **
** In case I need it when I’m older **



Sara, who just had cut the fibre and had put the needle and scissors away, stopped in mid-motion, stepped back to bring some distance between them and her amber eyes looked at him with disbelief, suddenly sparkling with anger.

That nonchalant answer was too much and drove her over the edge.

The stress of the last days and weeks came down on her and she hissed infuriated,

“Un… Unexpected complications, Scofield? Did I really hear you just say that? I will give you unexpected complications, you selfish…” her annoyed voice was cut off in mid-sentence with his kiss. He simply had bent forwards and pulled her into him, brushing his lips over hers - soft and hesitant in the beginning but heating up with every second…


** Now this mountain I must climb **
** Feels like a world upon my shoulders **



Sara – totally taken by surprise – tried to break away, she was too angry with him, angry for using her, angry for leaving her alone, angry for daring to get hurt, for risking his life – she was angry and furious and desperate and all in a sudden those feelings turned and she was just hungry for his touch… she craved for it, wanted to feel him, to be as near to him as possible… she simply wanted him…


** But through the clouds I see love shine **
** It keeps me warm as life grows colder **



Her armes sneaked around his neck, her body crushed against his so surpisingly that Michael lost his balance, they stumbled backwards and fell down on his bed, Sara on top of him, eliciting a low moan from his lips which could be pain, which could be despair, passion, surrender… Michael didn’t know, he didn’t care…

There was only one thing important now – Sara… Sara in his arms… to feel her, hold her… kiss her… taste her…

He had been with women before, but he had never let them into his heart, they never had gotten a glimpse of the real Michael Scofield, he feared too much that they would be taken aback by what he really was… and so he had held them at arms length… had been charming, polite – but never more… he hadn’t dared to be more, to let them be more… He had always been distant, reserved – and unbelievably lonely, longing for something he couldn’t quite fathom, he couldn’t quite name, suffering with a broken and fearful heart without knowing…


** In my life there’s been heartache and pain **
** I don’t know if I can face it again **



He had mistrusted ‘Love’, had feared the loss of control, had feared what it would mean to let another person in his live…

…until now… until those warm amber eyes had pierced through his walls within seconds, until Sara had found somehow her way within his heart and had taken residence…

And now he would welcome Sara with all his heart into his world… he feared more than ever that she could turn away when she found out… when he would tell her how damaged he was… but… he had only this one chance.

Only this one chance… and if she would… would… If she would not want him after learning what was tainting him – so be it…

Michael’s fingers were playing with her silken hair, diving into the red waves, his sensitive skin welcoming the soft and cool sensations of gliding through the shimmering tresses.


** Can’t stop now, I’ve travelled so far **
** To change this lonely life **



Sara’s lips parted and his tongue danced against hers, his arms moving around her slender frame and pulling her deeper into him, relishing in the feeling of her softness against his bare chest, deepening the kiss with every slash of his tongue until they reluctantly pulled away, both desperately panting for air.

Now she sat up, straddling him, her lips slightly swollen from their feverish kisses before, the red flood of her hair tousled and springing in unbound and wild cascades around her porcelain-coloured shoulders.

Her eyes took him in, laying beneath her, waiting for her next move, looking somehow vulnerable and fragile at the moment, his lips slightly opened and an almost desperate longing in his clear turquoise eyes which filled her heart with joy and her body with want…

But Sara struggled hard to believe it… was this for real?

Could she really see… love and tenderness shining in his eyes? Could it really be that he wanted her, that he needed her too like she needed him? That there was a man who truly loved her?

She had never felt this way for a man, never… physical attraction, for sure and some quick and really not ladylike releases, regardless of when, who and where… She was not proud of that particular period in her life when all she really did care about was been another shot, another high… she had hated her body and her father and she had paid no attention to what was happening to her… she had used and had been used…

Looking down in Michael’s beautiful eyes she felt so ashamed of herself, she could feel tears springing up and all in a sudden the unwanted thoughts from earlier returned to her… should she really do this, should she add her personal troubles to the cross he was already bearing?


** I wanna know what love is **
** I want you to show me **



Michael glanced upwards in her shining eyes, he tried to read in them but there were too many emotions swirling around, antagonistic emotions which for true were mirrored in his own eyes and fascinated he watched a single tear slipping silently down her cheek…


** I wanna feel what love is **
** I know you can show me **



Neither of them spoke a word, they held this tableau for several seconds, the only sound in the room their heavy pants and the furious beating of their hearts, their blood rushing in their ears…

Gulping audibly Sara finally teared her glance away from the maelstrom of his eyes and looked at the short, jet-black fuzz of hair covering his skull, she couldn’t resist and her left hand fluttered upwards to touch it, amazed of its softness, then slid down to caress the fresh shaven skin of his cheek, gliding along his strong jaw to his chin, than again upwards to his lips, pausing there for a few seconds before she slowly bent downwards to set the sweetest and softest of all kisses on his injured lips.


** Im gonna take a little time **
** A little time to look around me **



She looked into his eyes as if she wasn’t sure if what she was doing was okay, like she would ask for his permission and then she started a gentle trail of little kisses to the bruises on his cheeks to finally set a last kiss at the fresh surture she just had finished a few minutes before.

Michael was spellbound by this moment… he could only lay there, admiring her beauty, her perfect shaped face, the long eyelashes covering the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen, all his senses were only filled with Sara, every beat of his heart sang her name...


** I’ve got nowhere left to hide **
** It looks like love has finally found me **



Willingly he let go, his LLI roamed freely and gathered all information of Sara he could get, he wanted to memorize this moment forever… how her pale skin seemed to glow from the inside, the way her soft, auburn curls were falling around her small shoulders, her bewitching scent of cinnamon and a hint of oranges which enveloped him and drove him crazy, the feeling of her cool lips on his heated skin, a tear which had been entangled in her eyelashes and was shimmering and sparkling like a little diamond – all of it would be forever with him, imprinted in mind, body and soul…


** I wanna know what love is **
** I want you to show me **
** And I wanna feel, I want to feel what love is **
** And I know, I know you can show me **



Finally his hands started a journey of their own - they started at her face, cupping it softly, his thumbs caressing her sweet lips and Sara closed her eyes and leant into his left hand, kissing his thumb.

Then his right hand left her face and danced tenderly along her neck to travel downwards her spine and found the little area of naked skin between the hem of her top and her jeans – and slid deeper, between her skin and the layers of her clothes - coming to rest at the bare flesh of her tush… she gasped at the sensations which arose in her and opened her eyes, looking down at him and their eyes connected in a fusion of goldsparkling amber and dazzling turquoise.

His husky “Sara, I'm glad you came…” was immediately stifled by her lips covering his mouth, sealing them with a long, passionate kiss which left him even more breathless and needy, needy for more…


** Let’s talk about love **
** I wanna know what love is, the love that you feel inside **



With a groan from deep inside his chest Michael turned the tables, he ignored the protesting aches in his ribcage and head and rolled Sara over, coming to rest on top of her, deepening his kiss until he needed to break free, to gasp for oxygen.


** I want you to show me, and I’m feeling so much love **
** I wanna feel what love is, no, you just cannot hide **



Sara’s eyes – their colour now of dark, rich chocolate – slid ravenously over his naked torso, following the blue lines of his tattoo before she bent upwards to lick the crook of his neck, tasting his salty skin - and then she bit slightly at his flesh.


** I know you can show me **


That drove him over the edge, only seconds later his hot mouth was down on her, nibbling at her earlobes, kissing, licking, biting his way down to the neckline of her top, his fingers meanwhile exploring the soft skin of her flat belly underneath her top and spiralling slowly upwards until he reached the soft swell and warmth of her breasts - and was rewarded with Sara arching into him, begging for his touch…

Stilling his movements and with effort he pulled back from her, to study her, not sure if all of this was going too fast for them.


** In my life there’s been heartache and pain **
** I don’t know if I can face it again **



Sara looked up at him and it was like she could read his mind – she sat up and slid out of her blouse and threw it down on the floor, watching him closely before she bit her bottom lip and got rid of her green top, too - in slow, provoking movements…

A concerned frown appeared on Michael’s face as her bandaged arm and several scratches and bruises became visible, but before he could ask she was removing her green top too… He gasped at the sight of her silk covered breasts and couldn’t resist any longer - his elegant fingers touched her white skin, trailing along the line of her cleavage, eliciting goosebumps in their way…


** Can’t stop now, I’ve traveled so far **
** To change this lonely life **



Sara’s smaller hands came up and cupped his face, drawing him down on her for another scorching kiss which ended too soon and suddenly she reached out, took his hands and moved them insistently down on her bust.

Michael inhaled sharply and another moan slipped from his lips, he pulled away to marvel at her perfect body, his fingers softly kneeding her flesh through the bra.

Sara closed her eyes and sighed blissfully and Michael could feel the reaction to his touch immediately, her buds hardening beneath his fingers...


** I wanna know what love is, let’s talk about love **
** I want you to show me, I wanna feel it too **



“Kiss me!” she uttered breathlessly, her arms again flung around his neck and she pulled him in her sweet embrace… Michael kissed her eagerly, meeting her tongue slash for delicate slash before he started a wet trail of kisses down her neck to her breasts.

There he stopped again, breathing heavily and shot another glance up into her loving eyes before he cupped their sweet weight gently in his slender hands and kissed and sucked her buds throught the lacy fabric.


** I wanna feel what love is, I want to feel it too **
** And I know and I know, I know you can show me **



Now it was Sara’s turn to moan, she laid back and closed her eyes again, the feeling of his hands on her, of his lips, of his naked skin on hers – there was no place on earth she would rather be… She was fully aroused and with the man she loved with all her heart…

Finally his hands exposed her left breast and the rush of cool air made her nipple harden even more, and only seconds later she gasped as his hungry mouth connected with her hot skin and closed over it, sucking in her sensitive flesh…


** Show me love is real **
** I wanna know what love is... **



Sara’s nails scratched over his shoulders, then her hands went down to his jeans, opened deftly the button and pulled at the zipper, tugging at the waistband of his boxers to slip her fingers ins---

A sudden and sharp sound made them jerk apart and they stared slightly confused at each other, Sara’s glance dropping involuntarily to Michael’s crotch and widening in shock at the sight of his enormous… erection.

Only seconds later they heard a high-pitched yell and tumult downstairs which made them jump up and pulled them finally back into reality, staring around with panic in their eyes.

“Shit… what was that?” Michael whispered but Sara could only shake her head.

Hastily they searched for their clothes, the atmosphere had changed and panic lingered in the air.

Sara had just pulled her top back over her head whilst Michael had fastened his jeans and was slipping in his azure shirt when they could hear hurried footsteps on the stairs and a woman shouted repeatedly and hysterically,

“Sara!!!! Sara!!! We need help!!!”.

Sara paled and stammered “Uh – my medical supplies…” but Michael had reacted quickly and made no bones about it – he turned back to the bed, grabbed the blanket on which all medical supplies still were spread and stormed with this makeshift bag out of the room, hot on Sara’s heels.

At the stairs they ran almost into a pale and bloodsmeared tiny woman with hunted eyes.

“Ohmigod, Sar…” the woman sobbed. “S-so much b-blood…”

Utterly shocked Sara took in the shaking and sobbing appearance of her friend but restrained herself and touched reassuringly and calming Nikki’s tearstained face. “Ssshhh… it’s ok, Nikki… Whereto? Lead the way!”
End Notes:
*licks lips and looks nervously around*
So sorry to leave ya all with that cliffhanger...
Has anyone an idea what might happen now?
;)
Tell me! I would love to hear from you... and - of course - if MiSa was ok with you... ;)
Thanks for reading! :)
Chapter 22 - Chaos and Aftermath by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
Hey there! :)
I hope you're all still with me!
Here's the next chapter.... ;)
.
********************
Chaos and Aftermath
********************

Only seconds later they arrived in the kitchen – and all of a sudden Michael’s LLI kicked in, mercilessly reacting to the chaos around… His world silenced and slowed down whilst the thumping beat of his heart drummed loud and overwhelming in his ears, all other sounds permeating his cocoon only slowly, warped, alienlike…


BU-BUMM


He watched Sara rushing into the room, wrapped safely in her professionalism like a gown and kneeling down beside the lifeless body of a stranger on the floor, she talked to a tall, grey-haired man who was desperately trying to stop the red flood which was already drenching his clothes, the floor, everything…


BU-BUMM


Shocked faces surrounding them, a tall blonde woman was holding a crying, silverhaired teenager tightly against her breast and led her out of the living room and upstairs, his brother and another unknown man were wrestling with his nephew… LJ was nothing more than a screaming lunatic, tears streaming down his usually cute face, but now it was contorted in hate and finally the dark haired man was able to withdraw a gun from his nephew’s hands and retreat quickly, fastening the security bolt… Lincoln drew the now helpless sobbing LJ into his chest, his deadly-white face a benumbed mask of terror, his shocked eyes meeting his brother’s stunned glance…


BU-BUMM


The tiny woman knelt down in the red wetness on the side of the injured man, she was weeping openly, her dainty fingers reaching shakingly for the cheek of the stranger and the elder man stood up to give her and Sara enough room.

He turned – and froze, staring in horror with his blue eyes at Michael, and Michael gasped and jerked back, shaking his head in disbelief…


BU-BUMM


“It was you.” He stated hoarsely.

Aldo fought against the urge to rush to Michael and pull him into his arms,

“Go easy, son…” and moved slowly closer.

Michael shook his head and stepped back, his voice trembling,

“Stay away from me!”

Aldo looked helplessly at him.

“I know you…” Michael mumbled, feeling dizzy.

With each drumming beat of his heart Michael could feel the foundations of his world rock and tumble, he felt drawn back in time, his sight seemed to switch between now and the past…


BU-BUMM


The stranger stood at the threshold, looking down at him with a mix of sorrow, concern and guilt, offering him a hand.

“It's okay. You're safe now. He is not going to hurt you anymore.”

Little Michael’s gaze slowly dropped from the sad, friendly face down to the outstretched hand the stranger offered him.



BU-BUMM


His eyes widened and his glance dropped down at the strangers outstretched hand - then his hands lost the grip on the blanket he was holding and with a sharp intake of air he staggered backwards as the medical supplies spread out on the bloodsoaked floor.


BU-BUMM


…little Michael turned away from the stranger and looked in the forbidden direction - and was shocked at the sight of Mr. Roberts' lying in a big crimson puddle. The puddle was still sticky and wet and growing larger by the second. His face was a smashed pulp, his eyes wide and bulging out of his head, his body still slightly convulsing with it's last breaths…


BU-BUMM


“What the hell…” Michael mumbled soundlessly, his eyes following the path of his past, dropping like glue to the crimson puddle on the floor, growing slowly but steady, covering the stones with its sticky wetness. He observed fascinated how it firstly filled the white gap between the tiles before it devoured the whole tile on it’s creeping march…


BU-BUMM


Little Michael froze… and stared…and internalized all the blood, all the damage, all the little, vile sounds the dying man was making, the little bloody bubbles at his lips cracking open with a soft popping sound, the laboured pulmonary whistling, getting more and more erratic from one moment to the next…


BU-BUMM


The man in front stood in shock, dark patches of fresh blood darkening his clothes, the palm of his hand shining bright red, the injured man behind moaning in deep pain and coughing roughly…


BU-BUMM


And then little Michael turned and ran, ran away from the foreign man as if he ran from the devil himself.


BU-BUMM


The stranger reached out for him, his face unbelievably sad and longing, he offered him his hand again and said softly,

“Michael…”…


BU-BUMM


Michael shook his head helplessly, memories and reality interfering violently in his aching mind, he turned on unstable legs and made a crazy dash for the front door, ripped it open and vanished into the garden…


Shocked Aldo called “Michael…!” – but it was to no avail…

In a terrible replay of the incident almost 20 years earlier his youngest son had turned and run away from him like from the devil himself…





…and that’s what happened earlier…

*** Flashback – Nikki & Paul ***
********************************

Nikki had helped Sara gather all the medical supplies from their car and then watched Sara disappearing with Lincoln into the house.

Nikki frowned.

She could fully understand why Sara had been absentminded and had followed Lincoln without another word to her – Michael was injured and Sara’s concern and anxiety was palpable… she even had gotten a new shade of pale which Nikki never had thought possible.

Hopefully Sara could fix Michael… should she go and help her friend?

She sighed and turned to Paul to ask him for his opinion – and found him staring into the distance, he appeared withdrawn and cold.

Nikki’s frown deepened.

She stepped to Paul’s side, rose up on her tiptoes and touched his unshaven cheek tenderly, “What’s up, Paul?” she asked him softly, her glance searching his troubled eyes.

With a deep breath he returned from wherever he had been, his eyes focusing on her face and he tried a crooked little smile.

“Uhm… nothing, Sweetheart… I just was lost in thought – so much has happened in the last few days” he tried to deflect.

Paul took her little hand in his and bent down to kiss her pouting lips – damn – he should have known that she would sense that something was wrong…

Burrows would not take long to put two and two together – he had seen doubt and mistrust in his eyes… that would lead to much trouble, that was for sure….

Maybe he should try and convince Nikki to leave with him? They had gotten Sara safely to Scofield, now they should take care for themselves…

But with another look at the woman who held his heart firmly in her tiny hands he knew she would never leave her friend. And so he would stay…

Damn it… it wouldn’t take long and she would realize that he was anything but a nice guy… and he knew for sure if Nikki left him, he would shatter into a thousand pieces and never recover…

What the fuck should he do?

“Come on, let’s go in – I need to use the bathroom and a coffee would be great, too… and maybe I can help Sara!”

Nikki tugged at his hand and walked right on to the entrance door – and took Paul without further ado with her.

Paul gulped. He was screwed!



*** Flashback – Nikki, Paul and Lincoln ***
*******************************************

“Wow…” Nikki marvelled at the beautiful interior and sun-lit living room.

Paul had to admit that it looked great in here… a house like this and you know that you have done something right in your life, he thought.

Lincoln descended the stairs and Nikki asked him for the bathroom.

“First floor, first door on the right.” He answered in a friendly way.

“Thank you!” Nikki smiled at him and turned to Paul to give him a peck on his cheek “I’ll be right back, Hun…” then she vanished upstairs.

Linc and Paul eyed one another.

“Sooo… and you and Nikki are from….?” Lincoln asked cautiously and walked into the open kitchen area searching in the cupboards for some tumblers.

Paul hesitated shortly but followed him finally.

“I’m from Chicago – but Nikki is from England.” He answered.

Damn it! Linc tensed and gritted his teeth – he knew that voice! His mind worked in overdrive and he almost let go of one of the tumblers but managed somehow to catch it in mid-air.

Blurry pictures filled his mind… the sound of squealing tyres, shredding metal and screaming men – followed by darkness… and then… pain… and a soft, friendly voice, telling something about a dog…

Linc squeezed his eyes shut and could suddenly recall that voice talking again…

“I used to have a Great Dane, big and loyal. She was 12 when she got… ah… cancer so we had to put her down. You think it would be this big dramatic event but uh... It was very peaceful. Shh - shh - shh. One minute she was breathing - the next she wasn't.”

With effort he answered “…from England huh? How’d you meet?”

Paul laughed softly,

“I had this boring job at a big mall and suddenly there she was… She---“

Whatever he wanted to say was lost as Linc turned abruptly and punched him right in the face.

“You jackass! You tried to kill me!” Linc roared and glared dangerously at Paul, his face red and the sinews of his neck bunching out in his anger.



*** Flashback – Nikki, Paul and Lincoln ***
*******************************************

Paul just stood there and pressed a hand on his nose which had immediately started bleeding, the other outstretched in a warning gesture.

Fuck! He had known something like this would happen!

“You get one of those, okay? One!” he snapped at Lincoln - and then several things happened at once…

Nikki returned from upstairs and stared with huge blue eyes at the scene.

“Paul, what happened?”

She rushed to his side in concern to examine his bleeding nose while two teenagers entered the living room through the open terrace door and stilled, staring startled at the brawling adults.

“Stay behind me!” Paul grabbed Nikki by her elbow and shoved her out of the danger zone, ignoring her protest and shielding her from the raging Burrows with his body…



*** Flashback – Selene & LJ***
******************************

Selene and LJ were out in the garden and enjoyed the cool water of the pool. Neither of them had swimsuits and so they had decided to chill out with their feet dangling into the cool, turquoise-blue water.

Slipping out of her shoes and riding the already short skirt up her thighs, Selene dropped down and glanced up at LJ who was just stripping down to his boxers - which made Selene blush deeply.

Grinning and pleased at the effect he had on her he had pulled her into his arms placing a soft kiss on her lips.

Then they had a nice chat – with the help of the beeper of course and some easy handsigns LJ already had memorized.

Suddenly they could hear shouting from the house…

They exchanged alarmed glances and LJ stood up with a frown on his face, reaching out for Selene to help her up on her feet too.

“Why is my father shouting?” LJ asked but Selene bit her lip and shrugged.

Reluctantly they neared the house, LJ hobbling funny on one foot to get back in his jeans which made Selene break out in mute laughter.

Smiling back at her he pulled the glass-door open and stepped inside - but that smile vanished immediately as he turned to the kitchen isle and saw the stranger… well – at least he was a stranger for Selene, but seemingly not for LJ…



*** Flashback – LJ ***
**********************

LJ had entered the house curiously and a little concerned – what was happening in there? Why was his father bawling? And at whom?

Still smiling at Selene’s soundless giggles he fastened the button of his jeans and glanced at the kitchen – and felt thunderstruck…

All of a sudden he couldn’t breathe… it was like all the air had been knocked out of his lungs…

Owen Kravecki stood in the kitchen and had obviously had a fight with his father.

His mind filled with a quick medley of memories, the stranger on the door, pulling his gun and pointing it at his head when his mother came home, then both of them running… and then… the bloodcovered body of his mother, lying broken on the threshold… Owen chasing him, the short fight with Adrian… shooting his stepdad coldheartedly, mocking him…

The pictures changed and he saw Owen bleeding from his neck-wound in his own house after LJ had tried to kill him…

Panic filled him, he could feel his heart beat increasing… how had that murderer found them? How dare he show up?

He could feel icecold sweat running down his spine – His father, Uncle Mike, his grandfather – hell – Selene! All that was left of his family, all people he loved so dearly were here!

What if Owen… if he would…

All other things seemed to fall aside, he was living his nightmares, they were no longer only playing in his head, they were real!

His horrified glance was glued to Owen arguing with his father and his busy mind was replacing the faces of his mother and stepfather with the faces of his father, of Selene…



*** Flashback – Nikki, Paul and Lincoln ***
*******************************************

For Nikki’s sake Paul tried to talk calmly to Lincoln.

“It was never personal, Lincoln. War never is.”

But that seemed to enrage Lincoln even more, red-faced he blared,

“What the fuck does that mean, jackass? I shouldn't take it personally that you tried to kill me? To try to suffocate me when i was injured, half unconscious, restrained. You rammed the transport, killing the CO's and tried to kill me. It's not personal? That's your fucking excuse?”

Paul could hear a sharp intake of breath behind him and closed his eyes for a moment, fighting to stay calm. He knew it… he had known that it would end badly if he would stay here…

Out of the corner of his eye he could see the teenagers standing stock-still and staring at them.



*** Flashback – Selene ***
***************************

Selene took in the menacing situation – Lincoln red-faced and shouting, the stranger’s nose bleeding heavily and then another foreign woman entered the kitchen area and tried concerned to help the bleeding man but was immediately shoved out of the way.

And LJ looked like he had seen a ghost.

Without any hesitation Selene did what had been hammered into her since she had been a little girl: her fingers typed three numbers in her beeper and pressed enter.

The code worked perfectly, all beepers of the available AC-members beeped a warning to their owners in mere seconds…




*** Flashback – Nikki, Paul, Lincoln, the Teens and the AC ***
********************************************************

Suddenly there were running steps on the stairway and two men and a woman entered breathlessly, looking tousled as if they had just been sleeping, but alarmed and stopped to sum up the situation.

The blonde woman had drawn her handgun and pointed it immediately at Paul and Nikki; the black-haired man definitely was wearing a gun, too – Paul could tell. He had seen him reaching behind his back. He had released the safety, but seemed to wait to see what was happening, his hands at his hips to have quick access for his weapon if needed…

“Freeze! Who are you and how have you gotten in here?” the blonde demanded to know.



*** Flashback – Selene ***
**************************

Selene felt relieved as Jane, Aldo and Kevin made it down the stairs and into the kitchen – hopefully they could find a solution!

Biting nervously at her bottom lip she glanced at LJ and took his cold and clammy hand in hers – why was he so distraught? What had he seen that had escaped her?




*** Flashback - Nikki, Paul, Lincoln, the Teens and the AC ***
**********************************************************************

Suddenly three more people appeared and the blonde woman pointed a weapon calmly at Paul and Nikki, demanding to know who they were and how they had gotten in here.

“Shit!” Paul mumbled and made sure that Nikki – who glanced in shock at the gun - couldn’t get in the line of fire, that she was completely shielded by him from the armed woman.

He knew he had no chance to reach for the weapon he was wearing in his ankle holster and cursed himself that he had been so careless…



*** Flashback – LJ ***
**********************

Still lost in his nightmare - barely able to move – LJ could see Jane, Aldo and Kevin entering the room and Jane pointed her gun at Owen – but LJ didn’t watch Jane…

Kevin had taken position directly in front of LJ and a clandestine movement drew LJ’s eyes away from Owen and down to Kevin’s hands which where working deftly behind the man’s back… he watched Kevin silently loosening the safety of his gun and pushing it loosely in the waistband of his jeans…



*** Flashback – Selene ***
**************************

Selene tugged at LJ’s hand – but he didn’t react.

She frowned – what was up with him? He was deathly pale and shaking, he watched the exchange of the adults with feverish gleaming eyes, shook her hand off and stepped slowly closer.

Selene’s eyes widened – was he crazy? They should leave the room, they should go out of the firing line!

Quickly she closed the distance and grabbed LJ’s arm – but he didn’t even notice her, he was totally focused at the talking stranger in front – or at least so it seemed…



*** Flashback – Nikki, Paul, Lincoln, the Teens and the AC ***
********************************************************************

Paul raised his hands over his head and said,

“Easy lady – we are here with the doctor, we are friends! No need to point a gun at us…”

“Which doctor? What are you talking about?” the blonde bitch snapped at him.

The two other men had now taken position and Paul saw himself and Nikki surrounded by enemies… from left to right he was faced in a semi-circle by Lincoln, the blonde, the old man, the black haired one – and the teenagers were at his back.

They were definitely outnumbered - he was fucked!



*** Flashback – Nikki, Paul, Lincoln, the Teens and the AC ***
*******************************************************************

“Ehrm…” Lincoln cleared his throat uneasily.

Without taking her eyes from Paul, the blonde asked coldly,

“What?”

“The Doc – Dr. Sara Tancredi from Fox River – called just a while before… Mikey was waiting for her and so I gave her the address and password… but I didn’t know that she was bringing friends with her!” he mumbled sheepishly.

Jane exhaled and fought against the urge to close her eyes whilst Aldo’s head jerked around and he examined his son in surprise.

“You did what? God damn Linc, this is a safe house! How dare you to give away the coordinates to strangers? You have endangered us all!” she spat at him.

That was too much for Linc, he wouldn’t allow anybody to talk to him that way.

He turned to Jane and blurted back,

“Sara is no stranger, damnit! And I couldn’t know that she would bring this asshole with her!” and pointed furiated at Paul and directed their attention back to the newcomers.



*** Flashback – Nikki, Paul, Lincoln, the Teens and the AC ***
********************************************************************

“Ok… let's all calm down!” The grey haired man said calmly and turned to Paul,

“I know you – you tried to kill my son at the prison transport.”

Nikki, who had been petrified by Lincoln's accusation now gasped in shock and paled even more, stumbled a few steps away from Paul and covered her mouth, tears shimmering in her beautiful eyes…

Paul clenched his jaw, averted his glance and lowered his head.

“Yeah, that’s right… I had the order to kill Burrows, but you stopped me just in time…” he admitted in a low voice.

Aldo nodded. “And now you’re here to finish what you began?”

Paul could see from the corner of his eyes, silent tears running down Nikki’s face and he wished that he could reach out for her, that he could explain it to her – hell, that he could turn back time and avoid this god damn situation! But he couldn’t do anything… except try to convince all these strangers that he had altered… that he wasn’t after them… that he was running too…

He shook his head,

“No… I will not harm you or anyone here in this room. Yes, I used to work for the president… Yes, I have been working for the Company… but I’m no longer their lackey! I’ve quit.

I saved Sara Tancredi’s life and helped her to come here, and I’m with her best friend – Nikki Tyler. I’m not the same man I was been back in Chicago…” he admitted quietly.

Paul turned to Lincoln and smeared with the back of his hand over his still bleeding nose,

“President Reynolds ruined your life - she ruined mine … You wanna take the bitch down? You just found your inside man…”



*** Flashback – Nikki, Paul, Lincoln, the Teens and the AC ***
******************************************************************

When he said that, Paul felt in his heart of hearts that he really meant what he was saying… Caroline was no longer in his heart, since he had met Nikki she had vanished and had taken her blight with her. He felt free – for the first time of his life – and he wanted to do the right thing. Finally being all he had ever wanted to be: one of the good guys… if that meant he had to work with these people, than it was ok with him.

A wave of relief washed over him and he knew that he had come to the right decision.

The blonde asked him coldly,

“Give me one good reason why I shouldn't blow your brains out?”

Paul smirked,

“Because I can give you the one thing that's gonna set Lincoln free. I know where Terrence Steadman is.”



*** Flashback – Nikki, Paul, Lincoln, the Teens and the AC ***
*******************************************************************

They gasped and the elder man asked dumbfounded,

“How do you know where Steadman is?”

Paul eyed the grey haired man and admitted,

“Because I arranged the whole thing.”

“What? You arranged to set me up?” Lincoln growled dangerously.

Paul sighed,

“That’s right.”

Now – hissing in a menacing tone,

“You arranged the killing of all the people I know? Of people I loved?”

Paul nodded hesitantly and said with a low voice,

“I was given orders… I executed those orders - and then I got some orders I couldn’t carry out ... now I have a bull's eye on my chest, just like you and your brother.”

Jane said warningly – still with her finger at the trigger,

“I don’t trust him.”

Pursing his lips Paul answered,

“Hey, if I wanted you dead, you’d be dead!” and lifted slightly his left foot to reveal the gun in the ankle-holster without lowering his hands.

Aldo bent down, retrieved the loaded gun from Paul and stepped back again.

Paul cleared his throat and closed briefly his eyes.

“You guys wanna keep running, fine… You wanna be free, let me help you…”

He smiled slightly at Lincoln and insisted with a steady and calm voice “I have no intention of .....-“

… but he would never finish this sentence…



*** Flashback – LJ ***
**********************

He could hear Owen arguing with Jane and Aldo, but he didn’t even register the words… his world had shrunk to the gleaming metal in front, to his wish to avenge his mother, to his wish to save his father and Selene. The solution to this special problem was only a few metres away… so easy, so simple… and within reach...

It was like in his nightmares which haunted him since this whole mess had started… but this time he wouldn’t allow Owen to kill the people he loved… this time he had the chance to change the outcome, this time he could get a weapon, this time he would be quicker…

Suddenly all his shaking and fear disappeared, he knew what he had to do to save his family…

He found strength in his resolve and shrugged the weight on his left arm off, tip-toed closer at Kevin - a desperate and baffled Selene at his side – and in one fluent motion he drew the gun out of Kevin’s jeans, aimed – and pulled the trigger…



*** Flashback – Selene***
*************************

Selene still was tugging at LJ’s arm, begging for his attention – but it was futile.

And then all happened so quickly…

LJ shrugged her hand off impatiently and jumped forward at Kevin, she couldn’t see what he was doing but only seconds later Kevin turned with a stunned expression on his face, a shot rang through the air and made Selene jump out of her skin.

Suddenly blood was everywhere, the stranger slumped silently down and pinned the woman he had been shielding to the floor with his weight…



*** Flashback – Nikki ***
*************************

Nikki was a mess, what had happened in the last few minutes had been too much…

When she had come back from the bathroom Paul had been injured and than a blonde woman was holding them at gun point… But the fact that Paul was to blame for the misery Lincoln’s family was in, that he had obviously set him up, that he had killed several people and had been trying to kill Lincoln too really had upset her.

What else didn’t she know about him? Was he really here to help or had they just been his ticket to the family? To fulfil his orders? To kill Lincoln?

And he was wearing a gun? She had never noticed the weapon until now!

How could she ever trust him again?

Her heart shattered and the thoughts drove her crazy!

And then… a sharp bang jerked her out of her thoughts, she could feel a warm wet shower on her skin and before she even knew what was happening Paul fell…

Nikki raised her arms in reflex but she had no chance to hold the weight of him and broke down under him, then she realized what must have happened…

Along with Paul’s warm blood, horror, panic and desperation swept over her - and she started to scream…



*** Flashback – LJ ***
**********************

The sharp sound of the bullet starting its deadly journey and a sudden spray of red wetness, the sight of Owen collapsing and the broken-hearted scream of the tiny woman jolted him out of his cold stupor, leaving him confused for the beat of a second only to be swept away by the adrenaline rushing through his venes, the coppery scent in the air only added to his rage.

LJ lunged out at his fallen enemy, he tried to reach that murderous bastard, yelling at him at the top of his lungs, desperately trying to get a second shot, only to be sure that this time he had gotten him right, that this time he had killed him - but he was tackled down by Kevin who was quickly joined by Lincoln.



*** Flashback – Nikki, Paul, Lincoln, the Teens and the AC ***
****************************************************************

It took only seconds to turn everything into chaos…

Their nerves were on edge and all kept their eyes glued to the strangers… and so nobody saw coming what was happening behind…

All of a sudden, Kevin jerked around with a stunned expression on his face and his fingers touched the void at his back where his gun had been just a second before – tucked safely in the hem of his jeans – but it was too late… A shot rang through the tension filled air, blood sprayed and it swept Paul literally from his feet, he fell heavily backwards against Nikki before he collapsed and buried her underneath him.

They stood for a moment totally shocked and watched as Paul fell, but then Nikki started to scream and Kevin was already wrestling with a raging and sobbing LJ to regain his weapon – the teenager had sneaked up behind him, grabbed his weapon and fired at Paul! Now he was screaming hysterically,

“He killed my mom - that bastard killed her! He killed her…”



*** Flashback – Selene & Jane ***
*********************************

Selene stood at the counter and felt chilled to her core… silent tears were streaming down her face and she couldn’t take her eyes from all of the blood…

Her small hands clasped tightly at the work desk and she couldn’t understand what just had happened… she couldn’t understand what had gone wrong…

Her eyes finally left the growing puddle of blood and wandered to LJ - and then she screamed… she screamed soundless screams of absolute horror, she could see Kevin and Lincoln fighting with LJ, she could hear LJ screaming with a voice so full of hate that she wouldn’t have recognized it as his voice if she couldn’t she see his mouth moving…

And then her aunt was at her side, took her in her strong arms, shielded her from the madness around… led her up into her room, holding her until her sobs subsided and the last tears had dried on her cheeks, talked to her, comforted her… but whatever Jane said, whatever she did – she couldn’t take the shadow from Selene’s soul, she couldn’t make the sadness vanish from her niece's eyes…



*** Flashback – Nikki, Aldo and Sara ***
****************************************

Aldo reacted quickly and helped Nikki up before he tried desperately to stop Paul’s heavy bleeding.

“Go, get this doctor he talked about!” he shouted at her and knelt down next to Paul’s lifeless body.

Nikki – deadly pale and squirted with gore – stared wide-eyed at him, but at his urgent “Go!“ she had jumped to her feet and stormed to the stairs, yelling desperately for Sara…

If it hadn’t been for the elder man she would have totally lost it… her thoughts were running in circles now whilst she knelt beside Sara, Paul’s head in her lap.

Sara bit deeply on her lip and pressed her intertwined fingers firmly to the shot-wound before she ordered in a calm and commanding voice help from the foreign dark haired man who still stood beside her in the kitchen whilst all others seemed either to have vanished or frozen,

“Clear the counter, I need him up there – quickly!” and Kevin did as he was told, wiping the counter carelessly free with his arm and heaving Paul up on it with Sara close at his side, pressing her hands onto the deep injury in Paul’s chest.

Then Kevin mumbled something unintelligible and vanished quickly, only to return a few minutes later with bags full of medical supplies, all high quality and – maybe not too surprising – especially for heavy wounds, just like gun shots…

Sara’s brow furrowed at the sight of several little ampules of morphine and other painkillers, antibiotics, tranquilizers and more…

Nikki watched numbly as her friend cut off Paul’s shirt and her eyes bulged out of her head at the sight of the big, blood seeping hole in his right shoulder… but automatically she reacted to Sara’s short and precise requests and helped her to remove the bullet, to clean the wound, to stitch it up and to dress it…

All the time there was only one thought left in her, and she was repeating it numbly, again and again… Paul don’t die on me… don’t… just don’t die on me…



*** Flashback – LJ, Kevin and Lincoln ***
*****************************************

Not realizing what was happening, who was trying to keep him away from Owen’s bloodsmeared body he was fighting with all his might against the hands holding him, he was fighting against his father without recognizing him – to end what he had started was all that mattered…

LJ didn’t see Selene’s huge grey eyes fraught with horror, he didn’t see her screaming without having a voice to find release… he didn’t see Jane rushing for her, gathering her sobbing body in her arms… and he didn’t see his uncle and a redhaired woman arriving…

He was lost in his rage, he was totally out of it… he screamed and raged until no fight was left in him – and in that moment what he just had done washed mercilessly over him…

LJ collapsed in his fathers arms, a desperate sobbing human bundle.

Linc, who felt more helpless then ever, simply scooped his son up into his arms and took him upstairs... he was desperate and didn’t know what to do… he must take care of his son, but he had watched in a daze the encounter of his brother and his father, had watched his brother pale and run away - and he knew that his presence was needed there, too.

Luckily he met an upset Jane who had just given her niece something to sleep and he simply laid down his son at Selene’s side, ignoring Jane’s protests.

“Jane – please… give him something… I’m sorry… I’ll be back soon… but… can’t explain it now, but my brother needs me…please… take care of him"… and with that he left them, hurrying down the stairs and out into the garden, absconding from one unsolvable mess to stumble into another…



*** Flashback – Michael & Aldo ***
**********************************

Aldo had watched Michael's reaction to him with a breaking heart - his denial, his hasty and panicked getaway out of the kitchen.

Shaking, he lowered his outstretched, bloodsmeared hand and clenched his jaw, oblivious to the chaos around him, oblivious to his elder son watching him with incredulity written all over his face whilst heaving his sobbing son in his arms.

He had lost him. Not once, not twice – no… now he had lost his youngest for the third time.

He had seen recognition and pure horror flitting over Michael’s face.

His sin – killing the man who had abused his son – had once more followed him… once again he was paying the price…

With a deep breath he straightened his shoulders and left the kitchen to follow his son outside – if not to talk to him so at least to make sure he was ok.

Aldo opened the front door and searched the empty area.

The gate was still closed so Michael must be somewhere within the huge property.

Slowly he made his way through the garden and it took him quite a time to find him, but finally he was successful…



*** Flashback – Michael, Aldo & Lincoln ***
*******************************************

Michael was huddled up into a ball, his knees pressed into his chest, his eyes staring unseeing into the nothingness, bumping his head slightly against the tree trunk behind…

Shit…

“Michael?” he asked quietly, begging… and at the same time he heard footsteps approaching.

Aldo turned his head and saw Lincoln nearing them.

Michael inhaled sharply and snapped out of his trance, his glance scurrying up at his father.

“It was you…” he repeated warily.

Lincoln glanced from his father to his brother and angrily demanded to know,

“What the hell’s going on?”

“I know him.” Michael mumbled.

“What do you mean, you know him?! That’s impossible!” Linc spat, outraged by the madness around him.

He had witnessed his own son shooting a man, damn it! AND had been forced to leave him, to split his love and concern between his son and brother… because he was as bad a father as he was a big brother… he was failing again…

Michael’s troubled eyes searched his brother’s angry glance.

“I know him, I know this man!”

Aldo tried again to cool Michael down and stepped closer – but Michael flinched away. “Michael…”

Lincoln put his hand on his father’s shoulder and spun him around,

“What the hell’s going on, dad?”

But before he could answer Michael’s tearful and distant voice piped up to them, sounding all of a sudden so young, vulnerable and lost...



*** Flashback – Michael, Aldo & Lincoln ***
*******************************************

“After mom died…you were in Juvi.

They put me with this, this foster father, down on Pershing Avenue…”

Taking a shaking breath Michael choked out

“He… abused me, sold me to others, locked me up…”

Lincoln’s chin dropped to his chest and he shook his head in denial. “Nooo… Mikey… please… noooo…”

But Michael didn’t even notice his brother’s pleas, suddenly he jumped to his feet and faced his father with a tearstained face and yelled,

“Five weeks... over five weeks I was in that place. Where were you? How long did you know?”

Aldo gulped and said sadly,

“I found you as soon as I could. The state kept moving you around.”

Michael answered bitterly,

“Then you went away again, right?”

Getting louder now himself, Aldo screamed,

“You don't think it killed me, to leave you like that, to leave in the first place? Since the beginning I was the problem, since day one. Your lives are what they are because of me!”

His voice had reached a desperate edge, but Michael refused to perceive it and scoffed,

“Yes, Linc told me about the ‘Company’ - apparently you were some kind of analyst. That's the job you chose over your family!”

Brokenhearted Aldo answered,

“I thought I was doing the right thing. I thought I was protecting you.”

“From what, Dad? From who?”

“The Company was not what I thought it would be - I left as soon as I realized how corrupt it all was, how they were buying the government... That earned me enemies, I was important for the company, I knew too much - I became a target. The easiest way to get to me would be to get to you. And I had witnessed this special procedure too often, I didn’t want to witness anything happen to my family!”

Michael spat furiously,

“You could have come back at anytime!!!”

Resigned Aldo shook his head and answered simply,

“No, I couldn't.

Michael, turning on the Company put me and you in even greater risk. I had to stay away. That was the only way… to step back and try to watch over you all from afar… but… it went so horribly wrong…”

“But we were your sons!” Michael screamed at him, unable to hold back his tears any longer.

The tears now pooling in the elder man’s eyes couldn’t be ignored by his sons.

“And you still are…” he said softly.



*** Flashback – Michael, Aldo & Lincoln ***
*******************************************

An awkward silence settled over the three men, glancing uncomfortably at each other.

Finally it was broken by Lincoln who had been struggling to make sense of this new and awful information.

“So… you… were abused Mikey? I… I mean… I was there, with the social worker, you remember? That foster father… Mr. Roberts? He seemed to be nice, but you seemed to be even more shy than ever… I’m so sorry, Michael… I didn’t knew… if I…”

But he was interrupted by the flat voice of his brother,

“If you had known… what would you have done? What could have you done, Linc? You were only a child yourself, and you were in loads of trouble… what would you have done?”

Lincoln looked desperately at his lil’ brother, still trying to process what he just had learned…

“Would you have killed him? Well… if yes, you would have had to line up… ‘Dad’ was quicker than you…” Michael said bitterly and looked at his father.

Lincoln’s face fell once again in shock and he turned to his father.

“How could you do that to another human being - with your own hands?” Michael asked with such a low voice that he could barely be heard.

Aldo gulped and his shoulders dropped.

“I… I was so desperate, son… I had been abroad and when I came back you both and your mother where nowhere to be found… it took me weeks to find out Christina had died… and then it took me even more time to find at least Lincoln! But you… you had somehow vanished in the system…

I had to break into the desk of a social worker to find your records and almost got caught – I’m sure I scared the man to death… and then nothing could hold me back…

I went to Pershing Avenue to take a look at you – and ran into Mr Roberts outside the house… and he thought… he thought…” he wiped his eyes with his hand “…he thought I was a ‘customer’ and started to praise your body and your… ‘services’…

I was so shocked… firstly I couldn’t believe what I was hearing… and then he brought me to you… showed me my little son, locked away in a dark and cold concrete hole, all the time telling me how good you were in bed, how satisfied all his customers were… and after I saw it in your eyes – the eyes of your mother – I lost it… to see so much hurt and fear in those eyes…

I didn’t think… I just… reacted… couldn’t stop hitting him… hit the life out of him… and then I returned to you, I hadn’t much time to make a plan, but I thought I would take you with me, I would find a way to take you with me – but… you saw what I did to Mr. Roberts – and you ran away…

Again I couldn’t find you… and when I found you, there were so much hype about you because of the discovery of the ring of paedophiles and because of the re-election of the governor…

It was much safer for you to leave you where you were… and I had really no way to get to you.

I’m so sorry, Michael… so sorry… for all that happened to you…” he turned to Linc “and to you… all you have both been through ... it’s all my fault…”

Aldo sighed and straightened his shoulders,

“But we can fix this. I came back so that we could fix this.”

Michael’s face contorted angrily and he spat,

“This can never be fixed!”

“No… just hear me… There's a tape. It'll give us everything we need. Lincoln will be set free if we find it.”

Lincoln and Michael changed an unbelieving glance.

“A tape? What tape?”

At that moment Kevin called after Aldo, and Aldo said “I’ll explain later…” and left his sons to return into the house.


*** End of Flashbacks ***
*************************





Finally Sara had been able to remove the bullet and stop the bleeding.

Nikki helped her almost stoically to dress Paul’s injury and Sara’s concerned glance flickered for the umpteenth time over the pale face of her friend.

Nikki was too quiet… too… lifeless… What the hell had happened in here?

Sara tiredly wiped a loose stand of hair behind her ear and studied Paul’s face.

He was deadly pale and had deep dark rings beneath his eyes, but his pulse and breathing were steady; if he made it through the night he would recover… he just had too, for Nikki’s sake!

With a deep moan Sara stretched her aching back and tried to loosen the stiff muscles in her neck.

She approached the kitchen sink and washed her hands and face in the spray of cool water.

Then she turned to Nikki again and stepped quietly to her friend and pulled her in a tight embrance.

She said nothing, she just held Nikki and stroked her back – and after a few moments Nikki let go and sobbed heavily onto Sara’s shirt.

And Sara gave her all the time she needed…





*****************************************

When Nikki’s sobbing finally subsided and turned into a slight hiccup Sara said softly,

“It’s ok, Honey… Paul is ok for now… I have given him meds so that he’s not in pain and he will sleep for a while… He’s a healthy guy and has a strong heart… When he comes through the night I’m sure he will be fine…

Now – please… stay with him, I’ll just look for some of the men, they have to help me get Paul to the couch… to take him upstairs isn't a good idea, I fear, at least not today… and then you have to promise me you will take a shower and to change into fresh clothes before you sit down in one of those chairs. I won’t ask you to sleep in a bed in another room, because I know you will stay with him. So all I ask you for is to clean up and then to try to get a nap and rest beside him, ok?”

Nikki nodded silently.

Sara smiled warmly at her.

“Ok… now I will go get help, I’ll be back in a moment!”




*****************************************

True to her word Sara was back only 10 minutes later with fresh clothes for Nikki and both of the men - their names were Aldo and Kevin as she now knew, and something about the elder man’s name tugged at her memories, but she couldn’t quite relate it now.

Kevin had been easy to find, he had just been outside of the entrance door, inhaling somke deeply from his cigarette.

At her request he had called out for Aldo – and only a minute later the elder man had been at her side, ready to help her with Paul.

Nikki watched with clenched jaw how the men moved Paul from the counter to the couch and only seconds later was at Paul’s side.

In the meantime, Sara prepared a glass of water with a light sedative and returned to her patient and Nikki. She wrapped Paul in a blanket and touched Nikki’s shoulder.

“Hun? Here… please drink this… and here are your things and fresh clothes… Please – freshen up, I will stay by Paul’s side… or do you need help? Then I’m sure Aldo will take care of him and I will come with you and help you…”

Glancing from Sara to Paul to Aldo and then back to Sara, Nikki sipped the bitter tasting water absentmindedly and mumbled soundlessly,

“No… I’m fine, thanks Sar… just… take care of him, will you?” and fresh tears shone in her pale blue eyes.

Hugging her tightly Sara nodded,

“Of course… I’ll be right at his side, Hun… just go, freshen up…”

Nikki nodded and left the living room, shoulders slumped dejectedly.

With a deep sigh Sara turned to Aldo and asked bluntly,

“What the hell happened here?”






*****************************************

The grey haired men with the sad eyes, which reminded her somehow of Michael, examined her shortly and then he told her the whole story with a low voice.

At the mention of LJ shooting Paul, Sara paled and covered her mouth with a shaking hand.

“The kid? Oh my god - why did he do it?” she had gasped and was even more taken aback when she learned that Paul had been involved when the Teen’s mother and step-father had been murdered.

Her eyes darted unbelieving to the peaceful and handsome face of Paul and then back at Aldo.

Nikki returned in the meantime and scurried to Paul’s side, taking residence in the comfortable chair next to him, nestling herself in another blanket.

Sara watched her, seeing that the sedative was starting to work on Nikki - but listened intently at what Aldo had to tell her.

After finishing his report Sara asked,

“Ok. Where’s LJ now? And the girl, Selene? It sounds like I should take a look at them, they may need some tranquilizers… and… where are Michael and Lincoln?”

Aldo’s face saddened even more.

“Well… LJ and Selene are upstairs, first floor, left side, second door … Jane is watching over them – both are asleep at the moment, the tension was too much and Jane – who is mostly dealing with all our little health-problems – has already given both a light sedative…”

He rubbed his neck in a strangely familiar gesture.

“And as for my sons… I just left them in the garden, behind the garage, under the trees…” and his troubled eyes dipped away from her face to study the injured man and his tiny, now deeply sleeping girlfriend.

Sara’s eyes widened… Sons? And all in a sudden she knew why the man reminded her of Michael and why his name had sounded so oddly familiar… she had read his name in Michael’s file back in Fox River…

“Ohh… ok… Uhm… Can you please stay with Nikki and watch over them? And if anything changes please let me know… I’ll take a look at the teens and then I’ll look after… Michael…” she mumbled embarrassed.

Aldo smiled his sad smile and said,

“Granted… and… Thank you, Doctor Tancredi.”

Sara smiled tiredly back and answered,

“Sara will do… and you’re welcome…”

Then she turned and strolled determinedly upstairs to search for Jane, LJ and Selene – oblivious to the evaluating and inquiring stare Aldo gave her…





*****************************************

Sara knocked softly at the described door and only seconds later it was opened by a tall, blonde woman with wet looking blue eyes.

She rubbed quickly at her eyes and smiled crookedly at Sara.

“I’m here to take a look at the kids” Sara whispered and Jane nodded and let her in.

Both teens layed on the bed, curled up in balls, backs to each other and were sleeping deeply.

“I’ve tried to wash off the dried blood from Selene’s face… but… it’s not that easy…” Jane admitted with a flat voice, rubbing again at her eyes.

Sara reached out for her hand and squeezed it reassuringly.

“She will be fine… both of them will be … what they need now is that we adults stay strong and try to sort it out for them… What have you given them?”

Jane was thankful for that kind woman who looked so pale and fragile and was yet so strong… God knew if this doctor hadn’t been here, if it had only been her in charge to deal with the gun shot the man would be dead by now…

She told her what she had given them.

Sara nodded,

“Good choice… but why have you them here together? To watch over them better?”

“Yeah… Lincoln brought LJ to me after LJ had broken down… he said something like ‘my brother needs me, too’ and that he didn’t know what else to do…”

Jane sighed deeply and with a tender expression she fixed Selene’s blanket and stroked the girl’s pale hand.

Sara bit her lip and asked one more question,

“How do you think Selene will handle that LJ pulled the trigger? If I have got it right she witnessed it… Maybe it will be better to separate them before they awake…”

Gulping audibly and looking concerned Jane answered,

“That might be a good idea… I mean… They are so in love, you know? They only met two days ago but since then have been an item… LJ is Selene’s first boyfriend… And…” now definitely tears pooled in the blue eyes of the tall woman “And… I’m not sure if she can handle it… not after… after… what she already has experienced… it’s just… it’s too traumatic… again…” and a tear slipped silently down her cheek only to be brushed angrily away.

“Ohhh… that does not sound good… I really think it will be better to separate them. We don’t know how LJ will deal with what has happened, with what he has done…”

Sara looked sadly down at the prone figures on the bed and thought about the problem.

So both Teens where deeply in love with each other… that meant they would need each other to recover… but both would suffer on the traumatic aftermath of what happened… could the girl still bear to be near LJ? If their love was strong enough, it would maybe be ok after a while…

Shit… she was no psychologist… it could all go terribly wrong…

Rubbing tiredly over her face she thought about her other problem.

She needed to find Michael… she couldn’t quite say why, but she was concerned… he had been right behind her at the stairs, and then, in the kitchen… suddenly all her medical supplies had been spilled on the floor and Michael had vanished… and now Jane said that Linc had told her his ‘brother needs me, too’? That Linc had left his traumatized son to find and help his brother?

Something had gone very wrong and in only a few minutes…

When she did find Michael maybe she could convince Lincoln to come back, to retrieve his son and to watch over him in a separate room…

“I’ll see if I can find the brothers, and I will take care of Michael and send Lincoln to you… with what you have given them they should sleep for at least another three hours… but… we should watch out…”

Jane’s mouth showed the slightest touch of a smile, but her voice was warm and thankful “Thank you, Dr. … uhm…”

And Sara repeated what she had told Aldo only a few minutes before “Sara will do… and you’re welcome…”





*****************************************

After Aldo had left Lincoln sighed deeply.

“I’m so sorry, man…”

Michael shrugged uncomfortably.

It was odd .... he felt at the same time totally devastated and strangely relieved.

Now Lincoln knew…

Another deep sigh from his brother, then “Do you ever regret it?”

Puzzled Michael looked at him.

“What?”

Linc bit his bottom lip and answered silently “Knowing what you know now, do you regret helping me?”

Michael shook his head and answered,

“You would have done the same thing for me.”

“You think?”

With a firm voice Michael stated “I know.”

Both were silent for a moment, but then Lincoln insisted

“You didn't answer the question.”

Now Michael sighed deeply and a new wave of guilt washed over him.

“I don't regret the act. Just how it turned out.

Too many... Too many people died because I wanted you to be free.”

Immediately sensing that he had made Michael feel guilty again Lincoln tried to calm him.

“You couldn't have known, Michael. You couldn't have known it would have end up like this.”

“But it did! They want him, they want our father and they will do anything to get him…

Lincoln nodded slowly. “This thing is not gonna end here, Michael.”

Another deep sigh left Michael’s lips. “I know.“

Plucking a fir cone from the branch and throwing it as far as possible away Lincoln stated sadly “It's gonna keep spreading. Their hands are going to get more and more bloody.”

Watching the cone hopping across the grass and pondering over his brother’s words Michael answered finally with despair in his voice: “Well - the question is - is the blood on their hands...or ours?”

Lincoln’s jaw clenched and his head jerked around to answer his brother when he suddenly became aware they were no longer alone.





*****************************************

Sara stood beside them in the shadow of a tree and watched both brothers, a sad and shocked expression on her cute face.

How long she stood there he couldn’t say, but he realized now that he had felt her presence for a few minutes, but Michael seemed to be too deep in his thoughts to realize she was there.

Lincoln smiled tiredly at her and said “Is everything ok, Doc? Could you help… uhm… Paul?” and Michael’s head snapped up; Linc could see from the corner of his eye his brother’s face soften a bit.

“Uhm… yeah… Paul seems to be ok now, but he has to make it through the night before I can say if he will make it…” Sara answered, relieved that Linc had given her something to say.

“Thats good news, I guess…” Lincoln mumbled, rubbing over his head.

“Linc? You should go to Jane and look after your son… it’s better if he and Selene don't wake in the same room… We don’t know how they will handle with the traumatic events… and each should be with an adult who they love and trust…”

Linc looked surprised, but nodded. “You’re right, Doc… I’ll go…” and with a last reassuring squeeze of his brother's shoulder he vanished in the direction of the house.





*****************************************

That left Michael and Sara glancing awkwardly at each other.

Only two hours before they had been so close too… they had been so close to each other that they still could taste the other on their lips, but so much happened in between… how should they go on now?

Sara had overheard the last part of their conversation and she had seen Michael’s face unmasked, she had seen how he suffered over what had happened and her heart flew out to him.

All that has happened so far… all he had done to save his brother – he felt responsible… It was tearing him apart, she could tell.

And that was the last piece of puzzle she needed…

His mask was back in place now, but she had seen into his soul and she now knew with her whole heart that he was a good person.

But she didn’t know what to say nor what to do now, how to approach him, how to go on.

Studying her, realizing how tired she looked and how nervously she twitched the ring on her finger Michael thought desperately about what he could do now, how he could make her feel comfortable…

Had she heard all? What must she now think of him? He was responsible for all of this pain and sorrow…

Shaking himself with effort from this train of thoughts he opened his arms wide and smiled softly at her.

“Come here…” he said huskily, and after a second of pondering Sara stepped in his awaiting arms with a shy smile.

Michael wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close, his pent-up face relaxing immediately at her touch.

Feeling safe and warm, feeling loved and cared – feeling strangely ‘at home’ in his embrace Sara snuggled into him and relished in his warmth and unique scent.

Michael leant his forehead against hers and closed his eyes, enjoying her closeness.

“I love you…” he whispered, one of his hands coming up to stroke a single strand of flaming red hair behind her ear.

Feeling like she wanted to cry, Sara intertwined her fingers behind Michael’s neck before she pulled back too look up at him.

“I love you too…” she answered softly and kissed him – a tender and deep kiss, full of promises and devotion.

Michael felt his heart leap at her words and smiled against her lips before he deepened the kiss, slowly and sensually exploring her mouth.

When the kiss ended he sat down on the grass, pulling Sara with him and settling her between his legs, her back leaning against his chest, her head resting at his shoulder.

He kissed her hair and circled her lean waist with his strong arms and Sara’s fingers danced softly over his elegant hands before she entangled her fingers with his.

They sat there for nearly an hour, sometimes not talking for a long time, just enjoying the other's presence and warmth, sometimes talking about things they didn’t know about each other, but leaving out the mess there lives had become… the reality would catch up with them soon enough…

When the time neared midday and their rumbling stomachs reminded them of their hunger, they stood reluctantly and walked hand-in-hand back into the house.





*****************************************

They found Aldo sitting in the living room, watching over Nikki and Paul like he had promised and in a silent talk with a very strained and upset looking Kevin.

With a deep sigh Sara let go of Michael’s hand and stepped closer to Paul and Nikki, immediately feeling like she had lost something – she missed the contact with Michael’s smooth skin.

The last hour she had felt… complete… finally at home… She had felt a peace she hadn’t known existed until now.

But she had her duties and she needed to check her patient.

“Any changes?” she asked Aldo in a low voice whilst her skilled hands checked Paul’s pulse and temperature.

Watching her closely Aldo negated.

“That’s good… I need to check his dressing.”

Sara busied herself with Paul’s bandages and was satisfied with her work so far – the suture looked good and the wound seemed to be ok, no signs of an infection, her patient was sleeping deeply and seemed to be stable.





*****************************************

Michael had fought against the urge to protest when Sara left him to check on her patient and could feel the intriguing eyes of his father on him.

He ignored him and stepped into the kitchen and started the coffee machine.

Only seconds later the strong, herb scent of expensive java filled the air and Michael watched with a slight smile as Sara’s deft hands applied a fresh dressing on the poor guy.

Again he felt his fathers eyes on him and his smile vanished slowly.

Michael sighed.

He knew he couldn’t avoid another talk with his father even if he wished he could.

Searching through the cupboards he found a tray and put four cups, spoons, sugar, milk and at last the steaming coffee pot on it before he balanced it to the coffee table.

His father looked surprised and with new respect at him, visibly eased at Michael’s careful arranged advances to him.

Michael sunk down on the last free chair and filled the hot black fluid into the coffee mugs, adding milk and sugar in his own and stirring the mix.

Aldo thanked him silently and took the second mug, blowing softly above the steaming surface of his coffee and watching his son above the brim of his cup.

Sara had just checked on Nikki, her friend was still sleeping deeply but she started to stir slightly in her slumber – it would not take long and she would be awake again.

Then the alluring smell of freshly made coffee permeated her caution and with a smile she turned to the coffee table, her amber glance immediately catching Michael’s cool green-blue eyes.

She stepped to the table and plucked with a pleasant sigh another hot cup from the table and neared Michael who just pulled her onto his lap and snuggled up into him, relishing again in that new feeling of ease and comfort.

Watching all those little signs of affection Aldo smiled widely and nodded to himself.

So his youngest son and Frank Tancredi’s daughter? Who had ever thought of that… They made a beautiful couple, that’s for sure…





*****************************************

With a sigh Aldo sat up and straightened his shoulders, his greenish eyes full of wits and alertness.

He gazed at them and said,

“Well… we have much to discuss… Like I remarked before I know how we can clear Lincoln’s name.

Maybe our friend Paul” he nodded in Paul’s direction “…can help us with the location of Terence Steadman, that would of course be a big step for us… but we will have to wait and see what he can tell us if… uhm… when he recovers…

But… well… there’s a tape… It will clear everything – and we need it at all costs…”

Michael watched his father’s and Kevin’s resolute faces and shrugged slightly.

“Go on… what’s on that tape – and where is it? Why should it help us with our problems?”

Exchanging a glance with Kevin Aldo stated finally,

“Because on this tape is something which will help to take down President Reynolds – and doing this will exonerate Lincoln.”

Michael frowned and Aldo continued,

“You know how the security increased after 9/11? Apparently the NSA recorded a call between the White House and Steadman… A full two weeks after Steadman's ‘death’!

An operative tried to get the recording out, but was intercepted by some security guards from the Governor.

And it looks like the Governor had this special recording with him when he came home to Chicago – and that’s where you come into play, Sara… We – and it looks like the Company too – assume that he passed it to you before they killed him…”

Sara’s chin dropped at her chest and Michael turned and looked dumbfounded at her suddenly pale profile.

Suddenly Mahone’s questioning made much more sense…

“I’m so sorry, Sara… it looks like your father and you have stumbled over a conspiracy – and that made you to targets, that cost Frank his life and you your freedom and career…”
End Notes:
I would love if you would drop me a line, so that I know what you're thinking about it!
Thanks for reading... ;)
Chapter 23 - Stormclouds by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
Hi there! Sorry that it took me so long... *hangs head*
And I know - this is quite a short chapter... ;)
But I promise - the next one will be longer!

Ah - one short note before I post the new chapter:
I know that this is now a bit complicated to follow... so just please note:

This happens in the night after Michael and Lincoln had arrived at 'Rose Creek' and BEFORE all the others arrives at the safe house... ;)

I hope that helps! :)
*************
Stormclouds
*************

*** Flashback – the night before ***
************************************

With a sigh she stepped out of the building and closed the door behind her, effectively cutting off the normal, friendly, brightly lit world from her.

The loud laughter erupting back in the house was immediately hushed through the thick, wooden door.

She just stood there for a moment, shivering despite the still too warm night, embracing herself and glancing warily into the darkness before she took a deep breath and forced herself to step forward, biting her lip, starting her way home although her instincts were screaming at her not to do, like every night…

As long as she was doing her job she was somebody, a person of respect, a person of authority.

The moment she left the guards station at ‘Rose Creek’ she was a nobody… her insecurity and fears would jump up and would follow her all the long way home and those feelings would grow with every faltering step she took.

And at home?

She shivered and gulped down the rising bile.

What would she find today when she finally entered the house she once had loved, she had once called a home?

Best outcome she could hope for: The house would look like a pig sty, but Trevor would be out at a bar… he would come back late in the night or better still early in the morning, too drunk to find his way to their bedroom and would sleep it off somewhere between the kitchen and the living room…

Or the house would look like a pig sty and Trevor would be at home. He would be drunk, like always since he had lost his job. He would sit there and wait for her to come home so that he could let off steam…





*****************************

Having the first shift would mean leaving the house long before Trevor was awake and that was always a good thing, and with luck he would be out at midday when she returned home or even if he was at home he would have one of his nicer moments and leave her alone… but truth be told those nice moments were getting rarer… it seemed that Trevor was now constantly drunk, constantly aggressive…

Having the third shift would mean that usually her ‘beloved husband’ was already out of it, slumped down on the couch or in the kitchen or at the toilet-seat – it didn’t matter… he would snore through the night, befouling the air with his beer-soaked exhalations…

She would silently retreat into their bedroom and would roll herself up into a ball, thankful that he was already sleeping and no danger to her… she would be waiting for sleep to find her, always alert and listening for every sound, for every movement - even a small sound would be enough to warn to her, to prepare her...

Locking the door was tempting… but she had done it once… and the beating after had been the worst experience in her life so far… so she would never be silly enough to try it again.
Today she had worked in the second shift, that meant that – if he was not at a bar and squandering all her hard earned money on booze - Trevor would be still awake… she hated having a second shift…

The hassle would start immediately after closing the door behind her… maybe he would throw another empty beer bottle at her or maybe he would just demand his ‘right’ and beat her up along the way or afterwards, when he realized that he was already too drunk to have sex…

Denise sighed miserably. She didn’t care… she really didn’t know when she had given up – but… now she didn’t care anymore… she had stopped searching for the reasons, she didn’t fight anymore… maybe it would be better when Trevor finally lost his temper and ended it…

She was not strong enough to endure it, but neither to end it herself…

Oh… she had tried, in the beginning she had talked to her mother… but… she hadn’t listened, had silenced her with a rude gesture and told her that some things had to stay between husband and wife… and if Trevor thought that she needed corporal punishment, then for sure she earned it…

Denise had been utterly shocked, hurt and destroyed… her own mother believed she deserved the treatment her husband was giving her?

Something had broken then… and she stopped rebelling against her fate.

And Trevor was sly… he always hit her only at places where no one could see the bruises…

Disheartedly shuffling her way home, lost in her world full of pain and abuse Denise failed to register the dark shadow following her.





*****************************

T-Bag slowly caught up with the blonde woman.

He cocked his head to the side and studied her broken posture.

That was strange… it was like he had seen a completely different person in the guard station than he was now following.

Back at her work she had been laughing and even if he had seen the sadness in her eyes he knew that she liked her job and that she was proud to be a guard.

As far as he could work out, her colleagues had been friendly with her, so… whatever it was what she feared it would wait for her at home…

Gnawing at his bottom lip he followed her all the way home – it was a scruffy little house in the outskirts of Durango.

Her movements slowed down and then he could see her standing on her porch, shaking slightly and drawing a few breaths before she stretched out her shaking hand to pull the screen door open, stopping it with her foot and then she opened the front door – the sound of a bawling TV got louder and a dim light hit the porch for a few seconds - and then she vanished inside with hanging shoulders.

He pricked up his ears and a smug smile spread over his face, then he moved clandestinely closer.

She hadn’t used a key – not for opening the front door and not for locking it afterwards… silly little mouse…





*****************************

He stepped up to a dirty window and glanced inside – she stood in the middle of the kitchen, her hunted eyes darting around.

T-Bag took in the dirty place, used plates and dirty pots, spilled milk and leftovers on the floor and dozens of empty bottles and tins everywhere.

With a visible sigh and a disgusted expression she started tidying up when suddenly a bulky shadow fell across the floor.

T-Bag ducked deeper in the shadows, his instinctive movement mirrored by the woman in the house, she flinched backwards and tried to stay out of the reach of the man who just had entered the kitchen.

“Where hassubeeen u bishhh!” the man bawled, throwing the tin in his hands at her but missing her by a few inches, the beer spilling over, foaming angrily, mixing with the sour milk on the floor.

Now that was worth the show – the old girl straightened up and looked her husband directly in the eyes.

Her voice showed only a slight tremor when she answered coolly,

“Good evening, Trevor… I've been at work, you know my schedule… You… have already eaten?”

But he didn’t answer her – he just lunged out for her and for a drunken man he was damn quick.

She did her best to flinch away, but there was not enough space and he was so much bigger than her… his hand grabbed her short hair and then he pulled her close, the woman stifled a sound of pain and bit her lip deeply.

T-Bag nodded to himself – she definitely knew how that game was played… gulping down her pain she tried to give her man as little contact surface as possible.

But it was not working, he could tell.





*****************************

He licked his lips in anticipation and the bully didn’t disappoint him – his fist connected with a dull sound with the womans stomach and she doubled over in pain, her legs suddenly too weak to carry her weight.

The man held her up with her hair for a few seconds longer before he released his grip and let her go – she slumped down and rolled into a ball on the dirty floor, desperately trying to catch a breath.

“Fixme samsin to eat!” her husband snarled and staggered back into the living room.

Silently sobbing she came up to her feet again, shaking violently, one arm pressed on her stomach, the second outstretched to find some support on the greasy table.

She took a few seconds to force some air back into her aching body and then turned to open the fridge, finding to her relief some eggs and ham in its almost hollow depths – not counting the beer bottles, neat and proud standing there row for row...

With harsh movements and several little breaks for laboured breathing she made him scrambeled eggs and brought him the plate into the living room, trying her best not to come too close to him so he could not grab her again.

T-Bag had moved from one dirty window to the next and was watching the scene with interest.




*****************************

First he had been amused and slightly aroused by witnessing the domestic violence, but then seeing the woman fulfilling her duty whilst gulping down her pain had pulled another trigger deep within him… suddenly the whole thing reminded him of what his father had done to his mother… how often she had worked in pain, crying, barely able to move…

The tip of his tongue trapped between his sharp teeth he stared at the strangers, replacing their faces with faces from his memories.

He could hear the man demanding that she sat down beside him whilst he ate, and the reluctance she must feel was plain to see in every tiny move she made, in the tensed line of her jaw and shoulders - but she obeyed. Like his father had made his mother, like his mother had done…

He could see the man stuffing his face with whatever the woman had cooked for him but suddenly he threw the plate away and slapped her with the back of his hand across her head, just slightly behind her ear, into the hair, where the bruises couldn’t be seen so easily.

T-Bag pursed his lips. Well – his daddy hadn’t cared where he had hit his mother… no one would ask anyway, not even when he had broken her pelvis once…

Aahhh – and there it came… the fat pig was all over his comparatively small woman, tearing away her clothes and groping abrasively at her soft, pale flesh.

Now that was something he could enjoy watching… although he knew how it would end because the bully was too wasted to get his musket straight, that’s for sure…

He stood there watching, feeling his arousal grow… it was like in the good ol’ times when he had watched his father brutalizing his mother… it didn’t feel right, it was forbidden, yet at the same time so tasty…

A moan escaped T-Bags lips and he bit deeply into the soft flesh of his cheek to stifle it, rolling his head on his shoulders to release some of the pent up stress before he stepped even closer and pressed his face against the glass.

There she was squirming beneath him, her surprisingly curvy and appealing body visibly covered with several bruises in different states of healing and then it was over, the baboon couldn’t get a go at her… and of course started punishing her for that…

When she stopped moving he stopped hitting her, came grunting to at his unsecure feet and pulled his dirty jeans back up, fiddling with the fastenings and his belt.

One last kick against his now sobbing wife and a flood of vile insults – and then he stormed out of the front door, swinging notably from left to right, jumping in his car and driving away with squealing tires.

He hadn’t even noticed the stranger standing petrified beside him in the dark.

T-Bag’s smug smile returned and again he peered through the smeared glass.

The woman was coming weakly on her feet again, searching for her clothes, her body garnished with new, purple, angry looking bruises, her face contorted in a mask of pure hatred.

His smile widened whilst a plan started to form in his mind.

Now good ol’ Teddy knew what he had to do… some more hours and he would be hot on Pretty’s tail again… if his Karma was with him he would be near the boy again within the next 24 hours…

… tbc …
**********




*****************************

*** Flashback – in the morning ***
***************************************

The radio was playing old songs and he hummed happily along – not meeting one note right, but he didn’t even realize it.

With both greasy hands buried up to his elbows in the brown paperbag he searched with an expression of high concentration on his red, sweaty face between the crumpled debris of the fast food cartons and the empty, sticky Styrofoam mugs for overseen single fries and crumbs.

“Hah! Gotcha!” he smiled and held up triumphantly two cold fries, clotted with powdered sugar and stuffed them into his awaiting, open mouth.

“Hmm….” He closed his eyes and chewed excitedly, licking his sticky, salty-sweet fingers afterwards.

Then he sighed and threw disappointed looks at the mess of brown paperbags which surrounded him.

That had been the last one… no food left, nothing to drink – and he needed a place to have a slash… and maybe more…

Rubbing his clubby fingers on his trousers he threw an annoyed glance at his deeply sleeping and snoring so-called ‘partner’.

It was now shortly after 9 a.m. and it was time for them to get some new food – but this time HE would go and get it – and Bellick could stay here in the already too hot and dry morning.




*****************************

Disposing of the paper bags carelessly on the backseat, Geary sighed again.

Their ‘employer’ – how much he hated to call that bastard this - had called once more in the night to make sure they where still in place and to get the newest information – but they hadn’t anything to tell so far…

Scofield and Burrows had got into ‘Rose Creek’ and had invisible since then.

Bored, he watched a big SUV drive along, indicate left and pull slowly up to the security checkpoint.

Using the nail of his little finger to scratch at something sticking between his teeth he gasped loudly when finally his brain accepted what his eyes were showing him…

With his chin hanging down on his blotted t-shirt he extended his right arm to shake Bellick awake.

“B-Brad! W-wake up!” he stumbled, not able to take his eyes from the scene before him.




*****************************

Bellick who had just been dreaming satisfying dreams full of compliant, flimsy vested, classy chicks, of bloody revenge at Scofield and some headlines with himself as the hero, almost lashed out at Geary.

Grunting in his anger he jerked up, ready to put that asshole in his place when he became aware of the shocked complexion of the red-faced man and followed his glassy glance and pointing finger to examine the checkpoint.

And then it hit him… and hit him hard…

Gasping and dropping his chin himself in an unconscious imitation of Geary he watched what was happening over the street.




*****************************

That witch! That little, red-haired witch!

He felt a painful stab in his heart as he watched Sara waiting beside a dark SUV whilst one of the guards checked it; two strangers were with her, a tiny but tasty chick with curves in all the right places and a big guy with sunglasses on his nose, but he dismissed the others immediately and concentrated only on Sara.

She had a dark blue baseball-cap on her head and kept her face down, but he would recognize her anywhere…

Her long, slender frame, her elegant movements… the way the wind played with one, cheeky red curl which had escaped the cap, her white hands playing nervously with the ring on her finger – worn not on one of the usual fingers a ring used to bejewel – no… she used to wear her ring on her index finger…

He had so often watched her, had been lurking when she was starting or ending her shift, always hoping to get a glimpse of her, always hoping she would notice him, always hoping for a little talk with her…



*** Flashback Bellick – Part 1 ***
************************************

Since the first day he had seen her at the NA-Meetings he couldn’t get her out of his mind…

He remembered how long it had taken him to gather enough courage to ask her out – and got sidetracked in his memories for a moment…

Sara was pumping steaming Java in a Styrofoam mug when he nervously stepped at her side.

She looked shortly up and smiled friendly at him which made him almost undone...

Licking his lips he said softly “Hey Sara…”

Again she looked up from her doing, a genuine smile curling her rosy lips which made his heart jump and gave him enough courage to go on.

“Uhm… You used to be a doctor, right?”

Busying herself with the coffee she answered slightly embarrassed,

“I still am – in theory… why?”

He forced himself to go on,

“I was just thinking, uhm… I might know of a job opening where I work.”

Widening her sweet smile she answered,

“Really? Where's that?”

Feeling a bit more on save ground now at her still friendly response he asked,

“You ever heard of Fox River?”

Frowning slightly she asked,

“The prison?”

“Yeah. I know it sounds like a strange idea...”

Moistening his suddenly dry lips he leaped forward,

“Uh… maybe… maybe you and I could, uh... maybe we could talk about it over dinner? I got a gift card to the Red Lobster over off the interstate…”

She had looked at him, her kind brown eyes blinking in surprise and it had only taken a second before her lips curled upwards in another sweet smile which made him hope, which made him think maybe she liked him too but then she answered,

“Oh my god… Uhm… Thank you, really! I… uhm… tonight’s kind of my night to work on my résumé…”

Her expression had all the time been friendly and warm, but he knew it when he got a rebuff – hell – he was used to it… but this had been the one and only rebuff in his life when he felt only like crying, but not offended… even when she told him in a roundabout way that she was not interested he couldn’t be angry with her…

Gulping and fighting desperately to keep his countenance he answered,

“Yeah, of course…”

Visibly self-conscious but nevertheless friendly she said honestly,

“Sorry, I… uhm… But thank you, really, for the referral… Fox River?“

And he had forced himself to a weak smile and had answered "Yeah…” before he competed his careful retreat, leaving like all hounds of hell where on his track.

At home he had licked his wounds, pampered by his mother’s fresh chocolate-cookies and quarrelling with his fate…



*** Flashback Bellick – Part 2 ***
************************************

A few weeks later she had actually started working in Fox River and he – the always rough, brawling and unfriendly Captain Bellick – had found this soft spot in himself whenever he saw her or talked to her – hell – he had changed his routines to run in her by accident, to bring convicts to appointments only to exchange a few friendly words with her, to hear her soft voice…

Hope springs eternal… Bellick sighed… to be true he had never stopped liking her, had never stopped hoping one day she would… would…

But then… Scofield happened… Bellick gnashed his teeth. Somehow that cocky collegeboy had turned the head of the doc – damn it – of HIS doc! Had somehow made her his!

She had been stupid enough to fall for the worthless scumbag and had left the infirmary-door open to help him and 7 other men escape!

He had been so angry – hell – he had felt betrayed!

But when he had learned that she had tried to kill herself afterwards he knew…

…she had been used… She was only a victim… That damn bastard had used his sweet redhead for his plans! And if for nothing else – for THIS he would pay…

God only knows what he had done to her everytime he had an appointment in the infirmary, using sweet talk and his damn girlish baby blue eyes to force her to do what he wanted, like a damn hypnotist or something weird like that!

*** End of Flashback ***
****************************




*****************************

Snapping back into reality he stared at her and had trouble in believing what he saw – that stupid doc hadn’t learned her lesson?

Was she really running to Scofield like a she-dog in heat?

Hate started to pulsate through him… all consuming hate…

How often had he dreamt of touching her creamy-white skin, of running his hands through her auburn locks, of covering her body with his… How often had he asked himself how it would be to touch her, taste her, feeling her squirming beneath him, begging him to do all the dirty things to her he had imagined… How often he had agonized about how it would be to be with a woman he didn’t need to pay by the hour, who not was forced to prostitute herself, who was beautiful, intelligent, kind, funny… who was with him, because she wanted to be and not because he had payed crackling green paper for using her body…

Since he had met her at NA all of his questions had led to one face, to one name: to her, Dr. Sara Tancredi.

She had filled his dreams – and now… now she was nothing more than a bloody whore, spreading her thighs for Scofield, letting him touch her in all the places Bellick had dreamt of touching, whimpering and squirming for HIM, for this worthless tattoed shitbag…

He would get this bastard… he would get him and would make him pay for turning his nice, sweet doctor into a cheap whore who was obviously a slave to Scofield!

Scofield would pay… and then Sara would be his…

… tbc …
**********





******************************

*** continued flashback – night before ***

***********************************************

It all had been so fucking easy…

T-Bag entered the house without hesitation, the unlocked door no hindrance.

He stepped into the dirty kitchen and cautiously made his way into the living room and there he got a glimpse of the still naked woman shuffling out of the room through an opposite door.

His smile widened into a nasty grin and he stepped up to the door, folding his arms, leaning casually against the wall as if he owned the house – and waited for her to turn around.

He watched her while she searched for fresh clothes, still sobbing silently.

He observed her putting on the clothes, taking in every detail of her naked body, relishing the knowledge that she didn’t know he was there, that she – beside of her sobbing and visible pain – acted totally naturally, no need to wear a mask, to play a role because she thought she was alone.

And finally… finally she turned around, T-Bag almost felt hypnotized by the gracious vulnerability emanating from her and then her troubled eyes met his and she didn’t scream… she just… stopped moving, she froze in mid-step, her grey eyes as big as saucers, glued to his searing hot glance.




*****************************

Denise wiped her hands over her burning eyes and fastened the zip of her jeans, still trying to work out how to breathe and how to move without turning her world into the crimson red of agony again.

She would now clean the mess up her drunken husband had left and then maybe she would be tired enough to fall into a deep, exhausted sleep despite her aching body…

It had worked the previous times, hopefully it would work this time, too…

She turned carefully around to go back into the living room and froze in mid-motion when her eyes fell on the foreign man standing in her doorway, as if he belonged there…

…and with a sudden rush of panic she knew that he had been there the whole time, staring at her naked body, staring at her battered flesh.

“Hello there, pretty Lady… take it easy… good ol’ Teddy’s not here to mess with ya…”

The stranger cocked his head to the other side and eyed her up and down, licking his lips.

“Looks like dis work’s already done…” he said, his voice smooth and warm, drawling with his southern sing-song.

She gulped audibly and like before in the kitchen she straightened up and held her head high, to meet his face - the old girl had enough guts to look him square in the eye!

Now that was impressive… he had known men more than twice her size, ininjured, in better shape than her who couldn’t do what she was doing now, who started to tremble like a deer when the predator was nearing…

With a calm voice – and authority in it - she asked,

“Who are you, and what are you doing in my house?”




*****************************

Mmmmm… so composed, so polite… a strong woman… just how he liked them…

T-Bag pursed his lips and let a winning smile spread over his face, then he stepped closer, deliberately invading her personal space, stepping so close that he could smell her, that she could feel his warm breath wash over her skin.

“Awwww, Sweetheart… ya seem to be a really nice piece of meat… and somehow I like ya… “

He had bent forward and his lips were touching her earlobe now, his words muttered huskily.

A slight shiver ran through Denise’s body, she knew unerringly that tonight death had entered her home – and that she would willingly accept it.

The whole situation seemed totally out of the loop for her… maybe Trevor had hit her hard enough, and she was still lying on the dirty floor of the living room, suffering from a heavy head-trauma and dreaming all of this?

“Ya need to know that I’d watched ya man pigging out at you…”

Now he was touching her, his hot fingers ran from her cheekbone downwards, along her throat to her collarbone, touching her oh so softly, in a way she had not been touched in years…

Denise could feel her legs turn to jelly and staggered backwards but the stranger had foreseen it and had slung his arm around her waist, stabilizing her, holding her close… All she could do was pant heavily and stare wide-eyed at the man who’s face had darkened and who’s voice was now low, just above a whisper.

Then he leant forward, into her, his searing hot mouth almost touching her face. He inhaled deeply, his eyes closed and his face contorted in entrancement; as if she was an exquisite wine and he a conoissour, testing his ware and relishing in it's bouquet.

His lips trailed along her cheekbone to her ear and her heart literally missed a beat…

All her tiny hairs stood on end when she heard him uttering his next words in that husky tone, his hot breath caressing her skin, made her tremble deep within her core.

“…and now that I’m here me thinks that I may be of service… I’ve to offer a bargain to ya – a bargain I’m sure ya will love…”

She couldn’t escape the creepy feeling that the devil himself had entered her life and that she now was dealing with him for nothing less than her soul…




*****************************

*** continued flashback – in the morning ***
**************************************************

Roy had watched Bellick’s reaction to Sara Tancredi’s arrival with interest, his dull eyes narrowed in suspicion.

Damn it – he should have been betting back in Fox River! He had been right!

Bellick had fallen for the lady doctor! He had thought it all the time, but when Patterson and Mac finally had offered to bet against him he had chickened out…

Wow… Bellick really was rabid now, his jaw was tensed, he was grinding his teeth and Roy could see his knuckles white through the skin of his clenched fists.

In the last moment he managed to avoid the chuckle which rose in him and gulped it down – the last thing he wanted was this aggression going off at him.

Bellick mumbled something intelligible, almost fretting and fuming.

“What?” Geary asked, keen on to learn what his ‘partner’ had said.

That was a mistake – Bellick turned sharply in his direction, his eyes small and full of hate and bloodlust.

“I will kill that bastard!” he choked out.

Now he had lost Geary who stared dumbfounded at him and asked “What? Who? That guy there? Who is he anyway?” With a thick thumb pointing at the tall man with Tancredi and the other woman, who just held the car-door for Sara and then circled the SUV to do the same for the short one.

Confused Bellick followed his pointer and rolled his eyes at Geary.

“Nah – not that no name, there! Scofield! I will rip his guts out and will serve him his balls on a plate!” he spat furiously.

“Scofield? Brad, come out of the gutter – what has Scofield got to do with her?” Roy asked annoyed, shaking his head over his obsessed ‘partner’.

Bellick goggled at him with open mouth… could it really be that Geary was less intelligent than a… than a plant?

The impulse to kill Geary NOW was overwhelming… he couldn’t lay hands on Scofield at the moment, but Geary… Geary was sitting right beside him! And he would do fine…

The itching in his fingers got worse and this time Bellick could almost feel that fat, sweaty flesh giving way beneath his hands, could already hear the bubbling sound coming out of Geary’s mouth, could see Geary’s already red head turn a deeper, brighter colour…

Geary chuckled and shook his head over Brad, totally unaware of the danger he was in.

Gnashing his teeth Bellick reached out – and took the mobile phone which started ringing at that very moment.

“Yes?” he bawled into the phone, his face immediately wearing an expression of disdain.

Geary was wiping his glistening face with a dirty handkerchief and watched Bellick closely.

“Yes, I understand. We will wait for them… uh-hu… Yes, like discussed.”

“No… we havn’t seen them since – as far as we know they are still in there…”

“Uhm… we need more money – we’re running low, and we need fresh clothes and something to eat…”

“And that’s the plan? Really? Uhm… Great… Ok… We will wait for him.”

Bellick quit the call and snorted, mumbling cusswords under his breath.

“What did he say?”Geary asked curiously.

“He will send us somebody, with money and fresh clothes. And he knows now how we can get in there… And I tell you what… that plan stinks! He can’t be serious! This can be only his revenge on us… that bloody bastard!”

Bellick leant back and crossed his arms in front of his chest, starring sulkily out of the window at the now deserted guard’s station – he was now in a real morose mood.

God damn – how much he hated it to be here, to be damned to do what this outlandish moron demanded from them!

“Oh – money is good! We will have to buy some food, I’m starving! But this time---“

He closed his eyes, shut out Geary’s idiotic blubbering and concentrated only at what would wait for him afterwards…

He didn’t like the plan… but… it would bring them into this safe housing area… and then… finally… he would have his revenge on Scofield.

His price would be Sara, Sara in his arms and more money than he ever could spend.

Yeah, that was the music… and he would play it, at all costs… the cards were on the table, there was no going back now… all or nothing… and he would take it all…




*****************************

*** present day ***
*********************

He had managed it.

A smile crept slowly over his face – with money you could do just about anything…

You just need to find the right person, use the right pressure and wave with the right amount of money, and all was possible…

And so he was now here, in ‘Rose Creek’.

He approached the house carefully - thanks to the big trees planted everywhere he had a good sight without being seen.

The house stood separated from the rest of the colony and it’s only direct neighbour was across the street, again surrounded by lots of high trees, separating the houses effectively…

And now he was watching…what was happening in there, how they had scheduled their day...

He had to find the weak spots before he could spring into action. He had his orders and if he was keen on having his head sitting right between his shoulders he would move heaven and earth to did exactly like he had been told… ‘The General’ forgave nothing.

There – a movement behind the windows… He narrowed his eyes to absorb every detail, his tongue licking over his lips in concentration…

Yes – he had found them… now he needed only to wait and see – their days were numbered, and they didn’t even know…

The sickening smile was back on his face, and with every minute he was observing them it grew, it was stretching over his skull, a different kind of smile from what it usually meant… His smile was full of dark promises, promises of pain, of blood - and death.


(((Artist: Thanateros – Song: I’m changing)))

*** Sometimes the winds turn cold and hostile ***
*** Stormclouds gather and take your sight ***
*** The whole world holds it's breath ***
*** So afraid of what will come ***

*** And once again life is changing ***
*** The wheel is turning on and on ***
End Notes:
I hope it was not too confusing... but I needed to let 'em catch up with our beloved ones in the safe house! :)
Please let me know what you think...
:)
Chapter 24 - The Calm before the storm by Shadowflame
Author's Notes:
Be prepared - it's another looooooooong chapter... *blush*

I hope you all will like it!

:)
.
**************************
The Calm before the Storm
**************************

(((Artist: Venom – Song: Calm before the storm)))

*** There's a calm before the storm ***
*** Don't say that you ain't been warned ***
*** A calm before the storm ***
*** And it's coming for you ***

*** There's a calm before the storm… ***



Lincoln left his brother and Sara in the garden and made his way into the house to take care of his son.

What he had heard only a few minutes before weighed heavy on his heart… Michael had been abused? He was supposed to take care of his little brother, he had sworn it to his mother but his anger had driven him in the wrong direction, had driven him into more trouble then he had been able to deal with… his own problems had separated him from his brother – and Michael had been the one to suffer…

Angrily rubbing his eyes he remembered his only visit to this hellhole… Everytime he had met with his social worker in Juvie, he had insisted and begged to be allowed to see his brother… and finally she had given in.

The house in Pershing Avenue hadn’t looked that bad and the foster father seemed to be a nice man.

But Michael had been so… quiet and… intimidated, even more then usual, but Lincoln thought it would have been because Michael was mad with him, for stealing money and getting separated from him.

Never he would have thought that......

He realized in surprise that he was standing in front of Jane’s door and took a shaky breath.

What was it with this, with HIS family that it was so fucked-up?

Now his son had tried to take a man’s life… how the hell should he deal with it?

On the one hand he could understand LJ… hell – only a few moments before he was longing to beat that bastard to a pulp for trying to kill him!

All he wanted back then was to see his son, LJ had been top priority – not his nearing execution date, not Michael’s desperate plan to haul him out… LJ was in trouble – was accused of the double-murder of his mother and stepfather and the attempted murder of a stranger.

But this man had simply changed the plans. Killed four guards without remorse and laid his slimy hands on him, tried to kill him when he was hurt and helpless…

Oh yes… he really could understand LJ’s wish to kill the bastard. But… Linc sighed and shrugged… maybe he had learned finally his lesson.

Killing that man was the wrong way. And he had no clue why LJ had snapped and had done what he did…

Linc closed his eyes and leaned his hot face against the cool wood of the door, replaying what had happened in the kitchen only an hour before.





************************************

He had remembered what happened on the prison transport and had – again – lost his temper and punched the stranger.

They had started a heated arguement and Linc had been so close to beating the crap out of him when suddenly the short one – was her name Nikki? – had re-entered the kitchen area and had promptly turned to her boyfriend to help him.

Seeing his opponent shoving the woman out of the danger zone – shielding her from him! – had sobered him up but then LJ and Selene had arrived and in seconds it was out of hand…

Aldo, Jane and Kevin stormed into the room and all of a sudden Jane was scolding him for leading strangers into their safe house.

Gritting his teeth Linc had to admit that she was right… that had been fucking stupid and dangerous, but… he hadn’t known that Sara wouldn't be alone. Bu still… all that has happened was in fact his fault…

Lincoln sighed.

Then the stranger – Paul - had started to argue with them. He had admitted that he had tried to kill Lincoln, but he said he had changed - that he was no longer working for Caroline Reynolds or the Company - that he was hunted too and that he could help them bring the president down, prove that Steadman was still alive…

And he had admitted that he had set up Lincoln, that he was responsible for the death of so many people who had been close to Lincoln and Michael… like Vee… and Lisa too.

No one had paid attention to the teens, no one thought that trouble could come from them, they had only been careful to shield them from Paul…

If only he hadn’t been so angry, if he only hadn’t thought only about himself and his anger, if he had thought more about LJ’s security, maybe he would have been able to avoid what had happened…

With a sickening feeling in his stomach he relived what had happened down there… and heard again the pained screams of his son…

So this Paul was the murderer of Lisa and Adrian? This Paul was the man who had chased his son through Chicago?

God damn… The urge to go down and to smash the injured man was strong, but…

Linc sighed and his shoulders slumped down in defeat.

It would not be right… to take a life for a life… that was just… wrong… and that was what he had to get across to his son now…

How? He didn’t know…

But had this Paul really changed? Was he really here to help them, or was it all just a trick?

How could they know for sure?




*********************************************

Linc rubbed the bridge of his nose and stumbled forward when the door suddenly opened – and bumped in a likewise surprised Jane who had just opened the door.

“Oh – uhm… sorry…” Linc mumbled embarrassed.

A faint little smile tucked at Jane’s full lips “No need to… come in!” she offered and retreated into the room.

Hesitatingly he followed her lead and looked at the bed with the two sleeping teenagers and sighed deeply.

“How is… how are they doing?” he asked quietly.

Jane shrugged “They are sleeping, Sara meant they would sleep for at least…” she glanced at her watch “…two more hours – but we should separate them before they wake up…”

Linc could see the concern and sorrow edged in her face when she turned to watch her sleeping niece – and before he knew what he was doing he pulled her to his chest, encircling her in his arms and holding her tight.

Totally surprised, Jane stiffened, but this warm, human gesture in the middle of all this mess was just what she needed, and so she relaxed with a deep sigh into Linc’s strong arms, resting tiredly against his broad chest and inhaling his manly scent whilst his hands rubbed the small of her back soothingly…

Fighting against the suddenly brimming tears, Jane enjoyed the feeling of not being alone in this… for the first time in years she felt like she was able to share her burden…

Surprised by his own actions, Linc almost froze with this beautiful woman in his arms… Shit… what had he done? He could feel how tense her body was and gritted his teeth in anticipation of a slap for his impertinence when all of a sudden Jane relaxed against him.

Slowly he lifted his big hand and rubbed her back soflty in small circles, resting his chin on the top of her lowered head and closed his eyes.

This embrance, given to soothe her, seemed to have the same effect on him… he felt the tension leaving him slowly in giving and sharing symphathy… a strange feeling for him, something he had never experienced before…





*********************************************

How long they had been standing there, wordlessly easing each others pain, he didn’t know.

Jane retreated suddenly, sniffing and rubbing at her eyes, laughing embarrassed and Linc bit his lower lip and cleared his throat, then both stood slightly away from each other and glanced awkwardly to and fro.

Scratching his head absentmindedly, Linc finally spoke up.

“So… what shall I do now? Sara said I should take LJ to my room and stay with him, be there for him when he will wake up…”

He sighed and stepped closer to the bed, watching his son stirring slightly in an obviously uneasy slumber.

His glance wandered from LJ to the pale, delicate girl on his side and before Jane could answer him he spoke up once again.

“You think she will be ok?“

Now Jane stepped closer and took Selene’s slender hand in hers, caressing her skin tenderly with her thumb.

“I… I really don’t know… She has already been through so much…”




*********************************************

Her voice sounded somehow strange and Linc looked startled at her, seeing Jane’s eyes darken in pain and decided to wait and see if she would tell him what was bothering her.

When she actually spoke again her voice was barely more than a whisper and Linc had difficulty understanding her.

“You have to know… Selene was a little girl, 5 years old, when the company came after her and her mother… Nancy, my sister… to punish them for my ‘failures’, for my refusal to work for them…”

Linc’s head jerked up and he examined the woman beside him – so she had been involved with this damned company?

Oblivious to his stare and lost in dark memories Jane continued.

“They… they killed Nancy in front of Selene, using the little girl and my dying sister to blackmail me to do what they wanted… but Aldo and the AC were there to help me and finally we could break in and get them out… but not before ‘The General' slit Selene’s throat…”

Pressing her eyes shut, Jane sighed deeply, her voice broke and she began to cry,

“Selene almost died in my arms… the doctor’s fought for her life for hours… and it took months for her to recover…

She… she lost her will to live… she refused to eat and she refused to learn how to communicate after losing her voice…”

Jane took a deep, shuddering breath before she choked out

“All she wanted was her mommy… but… Nancy was dead… killed by that ruthless bastard, and it was all my fault… if I only hadn’t met Gary… if I only hadn’t fallen for his lies, for his charm…

I would have never endangered my family… ”

Her voice died away and Linc could see so much hurt and guilt in her face that once again he reached for her and pulled her close to him. What was it with this woman? How could she be so strong and so vulnerable at the same time? How could she touch something deep within his heart which he hadn’t known existed?

Jane held on him like for dear life, her fingers cramping in his shirt and her tears dampening his chest through the thin fabric.

Linc just held her close, her despair was somehow his, her lifestory somehow so similar to his own and yet so different…

Holding her, stroking her back, soothing her, feeling her… his world shrunk down to this room, to the sleeping teens in the bed, to this woman in his arms.




*********************************************

After a while he could feel her sobs subsiding and gently he lifted her chin and rubbed her tears away with his thumbs, gazing in her teary blue eyes.

“Better?” he asked with a low voice, smiling softly at her, and Jane nodded unsure, biting her full lower lip and glanced up at him – and suddenly the mood changed… Linc could feel the tiny hairs on his arms rising and Jane’s eyes dropped slowly from his eyes down to his lips before they darted up again.

Tension seemed to spring up with a roar and Linc could feel electricity flowing between them, his hands still cupping her face and slowly, almost against his will he could feel his eyes travel down her beautiful face to fasten on her luscious lips, opened slightly, the injury he had caused left a dark mark on this perfect shaped mouth and then her hands left his chest and sneaked around his neck, pulling him into her, her mouth devouring his in a hot kiss and he could feel himself reacting eagerly, his tongue delving into her soft warmth, a deep moan escaping their entangled lips and he was not able to say if it was her or his…

…and their hot kiss ended as abruptly as it had begun, both of them pulling back with a similar expression of surpise and guilt on their blushing faces.

“It’s… I… I’m…” he stumbled and Jane answered in a panicked voice “Uhm.. m-me too…“and a slightly shaking hand rushed upwards to touch her kiss-swollen lips.

Feeling overwhelmed with new waves of guilt, Linc turned away from her widened blue eyes and scooped his son into his arms and left without another word the room – literally fleeing the crime scene, leaving behind an utterly shocked and overwhelmed woman who sat heavily down on the bed beside her niece, one hand still covering her lips and staring unseeing into the nothingness…





*********************************************

Linc stormed away and retreated into his room, lowering LJ softly down on the mattress and covering his lean body with a blanket.

Then he found himself standing in front of the mirror, rubbing his head with a shaking hand and staring stunned into his own, now darkened green eyes…

Oh fuck… how could this happen?

How could his damn body and heart betray Vee only a few days after losing her? How could he feel so strongly for a woman he had known less then 12 hours?

Was it only sexual attraction? After all, it had been years since he got laid!

But no – he could tell from the ache in his heart it was more… so much more… but how could this be?

For god’s sake – he had loved Vee! He had loved her with all his heart, there had never been room for another woman in his life, but that was before he met Jane…

He took a shaky breath and rubbed his hand roughly over his face.

Somehow Jane had gotten under his skin… had found a way into his heart… He could still feel Vee in his heart, and she would never leave him - but at the same time the blonde amazon had conquered a place there, and the guilt he felt threatened to tear him apart…

A strangled sob escaped his throat and Linc slumped down in the chair, burying his face in his hands, in hands still held Jane’s clean and sweet scent… like Lilies on a bright summer day…

He was such a failure… he should be here for his son, with his whole heart and instead he was kissing a woman, had been barely able to stop himself tearing the clothes from her perfect body and taking her there, despite the presence of two sleeping kids on the bed… taking this woman and making love to her on the carpet, not caring about anything but burying himself deep inside her…

Panting heavily he groaned, jumped up and made a race for the bathroom, filling the washbowl with icecold water and dipping his head under. He would love to take an icecold shower – but he needed to be with his son… For once in his life he would be there for him… he vowed to himself.

The prickling cold fluid helped a bit and he could feel himself getting calmer.

Carefully he dried his face and neck and shot another glance in his own disappointed eyes in the mirror.

No fooling around now. LJ was the only important thing here.

Feeling slightly comforted by his resolve, he returned into his room, sat silently beside his son and waited for LJ to wake up…




*********************************************

Jane still sat on the bed, her stance defeated, her expression lost…

What the fuck had just happened?

Who was this man that was making her lose control? Control which she had build up for years, since she had first put her trust in the wrong man, since she had lost her sister, Selene’s light heartedness and her own belief in good – and in men in particular.

Since Gary… nothing had been like it was…

She had not been chaste – Heaven forbid! When she had been in the mood she had been with men… but… only under her rules, only for the act, nothing more… never more… never again…

And since the day Nancy died she hadn’t cried… she had been so sure there were no tears left after witnessing what ‘The Padman’ had done to her sister and her sweet little niece…

Until today…

Last night – her fight with Lincoln – it had been arousing… and she had thought about – well – about maybe taking it further with this man…

But after what had happened today – and especially here, in this room – she suddenly knew that once again in her life nothing was like it had been before…

…somehow Linc had sneaked in …




*********************************************

Jane blinked and buried her face in her hands with a deep groan.

How could this happen? Ok, he was tall, with a broad, tanned chest and she liked his fancy beard and the short, spikey hair, not to forget the way he was wearing his shirts – half the buttons undone… he had a very masculine scent and hell – he could fight with his hands and it has been a first in years that someone had taken her out, especially when she was alert like yesterday…

His low voice… Jane bit her lip – his voice alone made her tremble…

But – he had seen her lose her control after what had happened to Selene.

All that shit had taken her down, and somehow she had lost it in front of him, in front of a man!

She had sworn to herself that she never ever would let a man see behind her walls, that no one would ever come this close again – but today she had not only lost her defence – no… SHE had been the one who had surrendered and who had started the kiss…

Jane sighed. What a mess… what a fucking mess!

That little bastard had tried to kill a man in front of Selene – and Selene had been at LJ’s side, staring dewy-eyed at him when he fucking shot another man, standing so close, blood had sprayed all over her!

God damn – why hadn’t she done as she was told? But no… Selene had stayed at LJ’s side… and had witnessed it all… and she couldn’t be angry with her niece… she just couldn’t…

She couldn’t even be angry with LJ… She had heard what the boy had been screaming… This Paul must have killed his mother and step-father – in front of him – and must have forged the evidence so that LJ had been accused of the deeds…

How could she damn that boy? She couldn’t… because she knew: when she would have the chance to get near ‘The Padman’ or her ‘fiancee’ Gary Miller – she would kill both without batting an eye.

Turning to her niece Jane laid down beside her, spooning the girl and encircling her, protecting in her arms…

She would be there for her little girl when she woke up.

With Lincoln and her unexpected feelings for him she would have to deal later – Selene was all that mattered now.




*********************************************

Sara stared in shock at the older man.

She could see his lips moving, but her ears were filled with a strange humming sound and she couldn’t breathe, the air seemed suddenly too thin to provide her lungs with the much needed oxygen.

She felt hot and cold at the same time and all she wanted was to scream and smash something, or to run as far as her feet could carry her, she wanted to break down and bury her head in her hands and cry – but she was totally petrified, she couldn’t move, she couldn’t even blink her eyes.

Then she could feel Michael’s warm, long fingers touching her clammy hands, rubbing them slightly and pulling her into his warm body – that seemed to bring her back from wherever she had been, all of a sudden she could hear the men talking and could feel the warmth from Michael’s skin spreading through her frozen body.

He turned his head, his vivid eyes swirling with deep emotions and concern, his lips touching the sensitive skin at her ear as he whispered “Sara – are you ok?”

Still overwhelmed from the shocking news, Sara nodded her head, but answered in a lifeless voice “No, not quite…” before she closed her eyes and took a deep, shuddering breath.

Aldo stopped his talk with Kevin when he became aware the couple were not listening to his explanations.

An expression of understanding and sorrow flitted over his face and he bent forward to catch her haunted eyes.

“Like I said: I’m sorry, Sara. This is so much bigger than you know.

But… let’s start in the beginning. I wish Linc could be here, too – but… I think it’s better that he’s with LJ.

You will have to tell him, Michael… if that’s ok with you.”

Aldo glanced questioningly at his youngest and Michael looked back in those familiar eyes… Lincoln’s and LJ’s eyes in an older face, and he nodded.

“Yeah, of course I’ll do…” he agreed with a low voice and was more than thankful that Sara was at his side… their fingers were intertwined and so he had no chance to show the world how agitated he felt… no finger-tapping this time…

He squeezed Sara’s hands slightly, a gesture meant to give comfort but he was drawing comfort from her proximity as well.

Sara was here, with him… his brother and nephew were safe – at least for the moment…

That was what was important for him. That was real.

He released a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding within and his lips curled up into a slight, lopsided smile – a smile not unnoticed by his father.

Aldo felt relief washing over him.

Maybe there was a slight chance to win his youngest over… after all that had happened to him, after all he had done to his sons – Michael seemed willing to open up the door just a tiny split, but it was enough… Aldo could see the light of hope shining through it, even so small – but it was there… and it filled his heart with joy – and faith… They could make it – he had his family back, they had a long way to go – but they could do it…

With a hushed voice he started to tell Michael and Sara his life story.

“It all started when your mother got pregnant with you, Michael…”





*********************************************

Almost an hour later Aldo finished his story, his voice hoarse.

Kevin had provided them with tumblers and water and had checked a few times on Nikki and Paul – both still sleeping.

Michael had asked questions now and then always precisely to the point.

Rubbing his temples he nodded absentedmindly – slowly it all began to make sense…

Some of the answers Aldo had provided were really hard to take.

So this company was taking over the government – and President Reynolds was one of them…

Aldo’s words were still echoing in his brain.

“It’s about corporate interest taking over the government. Buying elections, fighting wars, people dying so they can turn a profit. We’re trying to stop it.”

Sara had asked,

“What are you, a bunch of spies?”

And Aldo had shook his head, smiling sadly at her,

“No... Just a handful of senators, congressmen, people like me that once worked for the Company. People willing to expose the president for what she is – a shill, working for these corporations. We bring her down, we bring them down. And when we succeed we will use that to set Lincoln free…”

…to set Lincoln free… to clear his name… could it really be done this way?

Messing with this ominous Company AND the president?

Michael frowned and looked at his father, his fingers drawing soft circles on Sara’s exposed skin before he turned and flashed a glance at Paul’s sleeping form.

“You said something about this man and Steadman before? Uhm… can anyone tell me who he is - and the woman - and what they have to do with Steadman and what happened in here whilst Sara and I… uh… I mean… whilst she was patching me up?” he managed to say and tipped with one long finger softly at the still uncovered but sutured gash on his forehead while he could feel Sara’s hot glance burning a hole in his head.

With a guilty side-glance at Aldo, Kevin told him what had happened.

Oh shit… Michael squeezed his eyes shut. His nephew had tried to kill a man?

“Why?” he choked out, utterly shocked.




*********************************************

Aldo, Kevin and Sara exchanged unsecure glances and finally Sara shrugged.

“Well… I really can’t answer that question, but maybe it will help if I tell you all what I know about Paul… and Nikki. But Nikki has nothing to do with all of the stuff around Paul…”

And so Sara told them about her lifelong friendship to Nikki, and how the tiny but energetic Brit had slid into Sara’s problems – and how she had met Paul, aka Lance back in Chicago.

At the difficult parts for her – her father’s death, the assaults she suffered and especially the abduction and injury through the agent the night before – Michael held her close, squeezing her hand, instinctively sensing when she needed comfort.

He was so furious about what she had been forced to go through because of him.

Sara felt how upset he was and leaned her head trustfully against his shoulder – and Michael’s worries faded away. He just couldn’t believe how Sara would still want to be with him after all…

“…and then we finally arrived and Linc told me that you were injured, Nikki helped me getting my medical supplies and I went up to your room to stitch you up… whilst down here all hell broke loose...”






*********************************************

Sara finished her part of the story.

Aldo nodded sadly and added,

“If I'm right – at least that’s the conclusion I drew - this man” he pointed at Paul “is the one being to blame for killing Lisa and her husband Adrian.”

Michael gasped in shock and stared in abject horror at the unconscious man.

“And if this is true he’s the one who had hunted LJ through Chicago and had prepared the evidence to frame LJ for the double-murder.

And a few days later when Lincoln was on that transport to meet up with LJ this man hit the transporter with a truck, killed the CO’s and tried to suffocate him.

If I hadn’t been following them your brother would be dead by now.”

Now Sara turned her head too and stared at Paul, gulping audibly,

“I… you know, it’s so hard for me to believe that…” Sara mumbled.

“When I first met him, in Chicago, at the NA-meeting… he seemed so nice! Ok, he told me another name and that he’s gay - and now I know it was only a charade to get to you and Lincoln” she said with sorry in her voice.

“But he seemed to be such a nice guy then. And… after I got shot yesterday he really saved my life and has only been nice since. Nikki… uhm… I mean… I think its safe to say that they ARE in love… Nikki loves him and Paul loves her right back.

And I… uhm… I think, maybe he has really changed, like he tried to tell you?

If he’s no longer on their payroll, if he’s honestly in love with Nikki don’t you think that he told the truth and will help you - uhm… us? – to take the President down?”

Sara glanced beseechingly from one man to the other.

Paul was a good man, right? He had to be! Nikki would break down if, if… Sara shook her head and forced herself to stop thinking about that.

Kevin was shaking his head, deep in thoughts… Aldo pursed his lips and seemed to be pondering over her question.

And Michael stared into the nothingness, deliberating about what Sara had told them about Paul… he knew, he would do everything for Sara… could such a deep feeling be enough to change a hired assassin into a good man? Would Paul change for Nikki?

He sighed and rubbed his short black hair before he looked up at Sara’s amber eyes and shrugged slightly.

Aldo chimed in,

“Well… just let’s hope he survives – I don’t want my grandson to be a murderer… and let’s talk to him tomorrow.

He had said something about Terence Steadman and this could be very useful for us.

If we decide that he can stay with us we will have to watch him closely – it would be ridiculous for us to trust him blindly. He’s a ruthless killer after all, even if he has turned his back on the President and the Company… We will have to be very careful…”

After a few seconds of pondering silence they all nodded in agreement.

“Uhm… Sara? Maybe you could show me the key you were talking about?“

Startled Sara looked up at Aldo.

“Uhm… yes, of course… I… it’s in my purse, I just have to get it…” and stood up and left the room.

Michael frowned, immediately missing the warmth of her body and met Aldo’s concerned glance.

“You’re ok now, son?”

Sighing deeply Michael tried a weak smile.

“As good as I can be considering the mess we’re in…”

“Well… that’s good enough for a start, I think…” Aldo answered, a slow, catching smile spreading over his features, reminding Michael even more at his brother and nephew.





*********************************************

Sara came back with a big, brown and worn looking handbag, skimming through its depths and after a while of silent muttering she came up with a strange, brazen, square-cut key. It was unlabeled but it had a flamboyant crown-symbel embedded in its head.

“This… uhm… I found this key to my father’s feet… I… I didn’t think about it much, when I took my handbag to leave it was there, and I just… I just took it with me…” Sara said, unshed tears shimmering in her amber eyes.

Michael stepped at her side and slid his arm around her small waist, trying to comfort her.

Biting her lower lip Sara handed the key over to Aldo who examined the small object carefully.

Then he sighed and his shoulders slumped down.

“It might be that this key holds the information we need… we are so close now… but… have you an idea what this key is for?”

Sara’s eyes grew wide and slowly she shook her head.

“No, I’m sorry… I’ve never seen a key like that before…” she whispered almost soundlessly.

Aldo sighed again. “We will find out, Sara…” he answered softly and smiled at her.





*********************************************

To distract herself and to hold the tears at bay, Sara nodded shortly and turned to take a look at Nikki and Paul, excusing herself from the men and stepping out of Michael’s embrace.

Paul still was in the grip of the heavy meds she had given him, but Nikki was stirring – in fact she was sitting upright and rubbing her eyes with her closed fists, yawning widely.

Immediately Sara knelt down beside her friend, blocking the sight at Paul to catch her attention first.

“Hey, Nikki – how do you feel?” she smiled at her.

“Morning Sar…” Nikki yawned, smiling sleepily up at Sara. “Where are we? I can’t remember when we reached a motel… just that I had a really ugly nightmare… its…” suddenly she stopped and an arduous crease appeared on her forehead – she seemed to think very hard and a confused expression flitted over her fine features before her eyes got wide and she stared at Sara in utter horror.

“Omigod…” she gasped, turning all in a sudden deathly pale again.

“Ssshhhh… Nikki… Hun… it’s ok now…” Sara hurried to say.

“Where… P-Paul…” and she started to shake violently.

Sara sighed and pulled Nikki in her arms, taking in over her friends head the faces of the men…

Aldo looked sad, Kevin guilty and Michael… Michael’s gaze was impossible to read, he seemed lost in thoughts, his fingers seemed to have a life of their own, tapping a rhythm on his thighs.

Sara mumbled soft words of comfort, stroking Nikki’s back.

When she finally felt Nikki calming down she told her all she could about Paul’s state so far.

“Can anyone make a coffee for Nikki? And make it sweet, she will need the sugar…” she asked and Kevin sprung at his feet and busied himself in the kitchen.




*********************************************

In the meantime Nikki came to her feet under the watchful and concerned glance of Sara and stepped falteringly beside Paul, her glassy and puffy eyes searching in his face for… for something which showed that this man was an icecold killer, that this man obviously had no conscience, when he was able to kill people and to destroy the life of a man like Lincoln Burrows so utterly without hesistance.

She scanned his face, she tried to look behind his handsome features, behind his much too pale skin, the shadows of blue veins beneath, she tried to get a look behind his mask – now, that his stunning seablue eyes were closed and couldn’t distract her – but all she could see was his concerned face when he brought her bleeding friend to her, all she could see was his face in the split second before he kissed her, his gaze lowered to her lips, his expression so soft and concerned… all she could see was his face when he had made love to her, staring deeply into her eyes whilst they were connected in the most intimate way, moving in sync, his oceanic gaze dark and caring and swirling with love and devotion…

How could the man she had learned to love so deeply in only a few hours be a coldblooded killer?

The shaking started deep within her core and it took her a moment to realize that the strange chattering sound she heard were her own teeth rattling.

Nikki embraced herself and tried desperately to hold it together.

She just couldn’t see the murderer in his face… she couldn’t… She knew that he was a dangerous man… since she had followed him into the basement garage in Chicago – was it really only 4 days ago? It felt like a lifetime for her – and had seen him with this SUV full of weapons, since she had heard him talking to his suspicious colleague or whatever the smaller man had been – since then she had known that he was dangerous…

And when he brought Sara to her, bleeding from several wounds, when he told his story how he had found them – it had added to the feeling that they were taking a wolf into their midst…

…but her heart had been so happy to see him again, to be near him… it had been beating so furiously that she had just silenced her doubts…

To be with him had seemed like the only real thing to her, had felt so right…

Until now…

…now she could still hear the kid’s voice shrilling in her ears.

“He killed my mom - that bastard killed her! He killed her…”

Nikki squeezed her eyes shut in a futile attempt to eradicate the painful words from her memories, no, more than that… to eradicate Paul’s face from her memories - and started to sway.





*********************************************

Sara who had watched her friend closely, noticed the strong emotions flitting over her face and reacted quickly, took her by the shoulders and made her sit down in the chair again.

“Nikki… one step at a time, ok? Here Hun… sit down… breathe… that’s fine, Hun… everything is going to be alright, you’ll see…”

Kevin approached them, a mug with steaming hot coffee in his hands.

“Is she ok?” he whispered, still wearing a guilty look on his face.

Sara smiled at him and answered “…as good as she can… But Nikki is a strong person – she will be fine. Thanks for your concern, Kevin…”

Kevin nodded and left the living room.

Sara sighed and turned her attention at her shivering friend.

She placed the mug on the floor and wrapped Nikki in the blanket before she took her icecold tiny hands in hers and tried to get Nikki’s attention,

“Nikki? Hun?“

Nikki’s pale blue and haggard eyes focused slowly at the soft smiling face of her friend.

“Here… you promise me to drink that now, Hun. I want to see every drop gone. Careful, it’s hot, Hun…”

And she pressed the hot mug in Nikki’s cold hands.

Another violent shiver went through the tiny person before she compliantly lifted the mug onto her lips and started to sip the sticky sweet and hot liquid.

“That’s good, Hun… you’re doing great…” Sara mumbled at her, her voice low and soothing, her hands rubbing Nikki’s shoulders slowly.

With every sip she took Nikki could feel life coming back into her – the dizziness she had felt disappeared falteringly and when she finally took the last mouthful of java she felt like a human being again – warm and reasonable and… well… just like Nikki again.

With a deep sigh she leant wordlessly forward and pressed her sweatcovered forehead against Sara’s shoulder – and Sara gritted her teeth to avoid the yelp building in her throat. Nikki’s touch was tearing at her surture – but it was ok, she didn’t want to startle her…

Still slowly rubbing her small back she asked “Do you feel better, Nikki?”

Nikki sighed deeply and closed her eyes – but she nodded and sat up straight, forcing a crooked smile on her lips.

“Yeah… thanks, Sar…”

Her voice was throaty and sounded strange even in her own ears – in fact she almost turned her head to look who had been talking.





*********************************************

Sara took the empty mug from Nikki’s hands and snuggled down beside her, cradling her tiny friend at her body.

“You… you really think he will make it?” Nikki asked with a small voice.

Sara looked at Paul – his breathing was steady and he didn’t look worse than the last time she had checked on him.

“Well… it doesn't look too bad, Nikki… he has lost a lot of blood, but I was here in time to help him – and Aldo there” she pointed at the elder man “had done good work before I came. His condition is stable, so… yes – I think… I think he will be ok.”

Nikki nodded silently, her eyes fixed on her fingers which were picking at fuzz on her blanket.

Sara watched her for a few moments before she took Nikki’s chin and turned her head so that she could look into her troubled eyes,

“Nikki… I can’t tell you what to do. I have learned some very… uhm… let’s say… ‘uncomfortable’ news about Paul… and I’m not sure if we really did right in trusting him with our lives and with the lives of the people in this house.

But… I want you to know… that I don’t think that he is playing his feelings for you...”

Nikki’s eyes went big and her glance flickered to Paul and than back to Sara.

Sara smiled sadly and shrugged.

“It’s just a feeling, Hun… and maybe you shouldn’t trust my feelings. I have a very bad record when it comes to men… but… I dunno… when Paul is looking at you his… glance has something so… pure…”

Sara sighed and played nervously with her ring.

“They will constantly keep an eye on him, and they are right to do so. But… I… uhm… I don’t want to interfere, I’m not entitled to do that… but I think… you should hear him out when he’s awake… try to find out why he did what he did, if he’s willing to tell you the truth…”

Sara stopped and took a deep breath, feeling Nikki’s questioning gaze burning on her face before she continued.

“You know… I’ve done some things in my life… of which I’m not proud… and I would have loved if somebody had been willing to ask for my point of view, to ask why I did it… Maybe… uhm… I know how much you love him… so just… give him the chance to tell you…” her voice died away and she averted her eyes.





*********************************************

Nikki’s chin had dropped to her chest at Sara’s request.

She had been sure her friend would tell her to stay the hell away from Paul – but had she really got it right and Sara was asking for a second chance for Paul? A second chance for a liar, for a murderer, for a… Nikki was at loss of words.

With an audible sound she closed her mouth and inhaled deeply.

“I’ll… think about it, Sar… I just don’t know what to think, what to feel… all I know is that I don’t want him dead, I couldn’t live with that…” her voice broke and hot tears filled her eyes at the thought of losing him.

“B-but I don’t know if I can… live with what he has done… you know?”

Sara nodded.

“Yeah… I know… I’m… I’ve been in a similar situation with Michael… not as severe as you now with Paul, Michael has… killed no one… but – uhm… the things he did to safe his brother has hurt so much people… he has manipulated and lied and broken so many laws to save Lincoln – I don’t know… I mean…”

Rolling her eyes at her own unsecure stumbling Sara growled and released her breath.

“I’ve decided that I love him so much that… I’ll stop pondering over the past and will try to build a future with him.

It’s not the same I fear… taking life is… not as easy to forgive – or better said I think it can’t be forgiven… but…

…at least he has the right to explain himself…”

Another frustrated huff and a very uncomfortable feeling Sara scrambeled at her feet again.

“I love you, Nikki… I don’t want you to get hurt… if you need me I’ll be there for you, always…”

Nikki managed a brusque nod, not trusting her voice enough to answer.

“I’ll going in my room trying to catch a little sleep before I have to deal with two traumatized teenagers… but if you need me, just send Aldo or Kevin my way, ok?”

Nikki nodded once again before Sara turned and left her alone.

Alone with a murderer.

Alone with a liar.

Alone with a creature without any scruples.



Alone with the man she truly loved - alone with Paul…





*********************************************

Sara talked to Aldo and Kevin – both promised to keep an eye on Nikki but wanted to give her some privacy; they left the living room to settle down outside on the terrace, enjoying the warm sun.

Michael watched Sara open the refrigerator and skim through it’s overloaded depths, retrieving a yoghurt and water.

Then she felt his eyes on her, turned and flashed a tired smile at him.

“Hey…” she said softly. “I’m going upstairs, to check on the Teens, take a shower, eat a little and then… uhm… try to take a nap… but you should come up, too… I still have to dress your ribs, they need some pressure to get better…”

Michael’s soft smile turned at her words into a smirk, mischief twinkling in his eyes.

“You’re sure the only reason you want me up there is to dress my ribcage, Tancredi?” he asked her, his lips curling up in the lopsided smile she had loved so much back in the old infirmary days…

Feeling her face getting hot Sara shot him a dirty glance and bit her lip before she answered coolly,

“You’re right, Scofield – that’s not all… this surture still needs to get covered, so thanks for reminding me that your ribcage is not the only mauled part of your anatomy which needs my attention.”

A strange expression flickered for a split-second through Michael’s eyes but vanished so quickly that Sara wasn’t sure if she really had seen it and then a soft chuckle rumbled up from deeply within him which made Sara’s whole body tingle with need.

Now pouting slightly and drawing her attention to his lips Michael answered,

“You’re the doc, doc… I’m coming with you, I need to check on my brother and nephew anyway…”

Tearing her glance from his lips Sara nodded, tightening her grip around the yoghurt and water she had picked from the refridgerator which just threatened to slip from her sudden numb hands and gulped heavily.

Not aware of what he was doing to her with just his deep voice Michael lowered it even more and hushed “and what about the special medical treatment you didn't finish …”

Jeez… how could this man make her undone with just his words and hints?

Inhaling deeply and straightening her shoulders Sara mumbled “whatever…” in a desperate attempt to obtain a small amount of dignity and turned to the stairway, much too aware of Michael’s presence right behind her, almost tripping over her own feet because she was paying more attention to what was happening behind her instead of watching the way in front of her.

Of course Michael’s arm dashed forward, his long fingers curled around her arm whilst his other hand supported the small of her back protectively.

“Whoah… you ok, Sara?” he asked concerned and took the bottle of water from her hands.

Sara bit her lip to stifle the groan which built up deep within her at his touch.

“Yeah… thanks…” she answered huskily, wiggled herself free from his touch and hurried away, a confused looking Michael hot on her trail.




*********************************************

Then they arrived at Jane’s door – safe ground she thought relieved – and Sara knocked softly before opening the door.

Craning her neck she could see Jane laying beside Selene in the bed, holding her niece close to her.

Both were deeply asleep and Sara had no intention of disturbing their – now – peaceful slumber.

Selene would wake up in her aunt’s arms, that was good…

Turning her head to Michael, Sara lifted her free hand and touched her index-finger softly to her lips to signal him to be silent, then she closed the door carefully again.

“They are sleeping – and it seems like they did what I advised… they separated the kids… I assume LJ is in his father’s room now…” she whispered to him.

Michael nodded and walked ahead of her to check on the other rooms on this floor.

They had come here first and so he assumed his brother would have taken one of the rooms down the corridor.

He knocked on the room on the right side and was rewarded with a low “Come in…”





*********************************************

Smiling back at Sara he slowly opened the door and was met with the sight of his visibly shaken brother hovering in a chair at LJ’s side.

The teenager was sleeping but his face was anything but peaceful, even in his slumber.

Concerned Michael stepped in, making room for Sara and neared his brother.

“How is he, Linc? They told me what happened earlier…” Michael asked and Linc just shrugged his shoulders.

“I don’t know, Mikey… I… I’ve never seen him like this… Last night we finally had time to sit down and talk about what had happened since I last saw him.

He told me about the guys who came in their house… and how he… found Lisa lying in her own blood, and that he tried to run away – but one of them stopped him.

Adrian showed up and knocked the stranger down, yelling at LJ to run – but the man jumped up again and shot him right in front of LJ, then he was mocking him, threatening him…”

Linc’s voice was deep with anger and emotion now, his hands balling up into fists and his jaw clenching.

“This man hunted my son through Chicago – on his bare feet, can you imagine? You know how cold it was back then… He hunted a 15-year-old who had just witnessed the murder of his mother and step-father - on his bare feet - through the freezing cold city. Then he doctored the evidence so it looked like LJ killed them…”

Linc took a deep, shaking breath in an effort to stay as quiet as possible.

“Somehow LJ found out his name – Owen Kravecki or something strange sounding like that – and broke into his house.

He wanted to revenge his mother and when the man showed up, it was the man who had murdered them.

LJ… he… he tried to shoot him then… but he failed, just grazing his neck – and the police came and arrested him, charging him not only for the murder of his mother and step-father but for the attempted murder of this bastard as well…”

Linc buried his head in his hands, shaking his head slightly.

“Today… this Paul… I found him strangely familiar but couldn’t quite place him until he talked to me.

I knew his voice… It was the voice of the man who hit my transport when I was supposed to meet up with LJ and Vee – this man tried to suffocate me when I was injured on the floor.”

He looked up, his pained eyes searching his brother’s face.

“Michael… I don’t know what to do now… I’m at my wit's end.

I know that it was wrong for LJ to do that, I know that I have to talk some sense into him – my son can’t run around and shoot people no matter what they've done… it’s just not right… but…

I can understand why he did it… I really can! My hands are itching to go down and break that bastard’s neck for what he did to Lisa and Adrian, for what he did to my son! And on top of that he’s the man who set me up!”





*********************************************

Sara and Michael gasped in union and looked utterly shocked – now more and more hidden links got unravelled, and almost all seemed to lead to or over Paul Kellerman aka Lance aka Owen Kravecki and god only knew how many names that man had used.

Linc nodded bitterly.

“Yeah, he admitted it before LJ shot him. He has been working for the company and had been the one in charge of setting me up… I don’t know if it was him that killed Vee too… but if he has… than may god help him – I will finish what LJ started…”

The last words left his mouth in a frenzied whisper and tears suddenly started streaming down his face.

“Oh shit, Linc…” Michael stated hoarsely, not knowing what to do.

Linc had always been the one who held it all together, who had been the rock in Michael’s life… well, at least until Michael had been able to fend for himself and before Linc had drifted into the drug- and crime scene… and now he was weeping openly, broken by the tragedy which had hit and overrun their family.

Sara felt like somebody had pulled the rug out from under her feet.

With every new piece of information she got about Paul the man seemed to be more ruthless and gruesome than before…

…but still…

She just couldn’t forget the way he had looked at Nikki, the soft and deep timbre in his voice when he was talking to her and the love and devotion she had seen shining in his seablue eyes…

That man was a monster, but obviously a monster with a soft spot.

Would he really change? Was he telling the truth? Could his love for Nikki be enough for him to alter? And would this family, which had suffered so much through his actions, be able to accept him?

Oh what a mess…





*********************************************

Shaking herself out of her horrified stupor Sara took in the sobbing man and his petrified brother beside him and stepped forward, kneeling down beside him so that she could look up into his face.

“Lincoln? Linc… hey… just… listen, ok?

You’re absolutely right… what LJ tried to do isn't right, so you’re right when you say you have to talk some sense into him…

I can see your point… It seems like Paul has to answer for many terrible deeds…”

Sara sighed and felt desperate and hollow inside. How should she – no… how could she defend a man who had done obviously all of these terrible things?

“I’m sure… he’s paying already for his deeds. He says he has broken with his past and I tend to believe him – hell, the man saved my life just the night before!

That’s not enough to undo what he did to you and your family… but maybe he’s truly regretting what he did. And he says he can help you, he can help us.

So maybe we should hear what he has to say when – if! – he wakes up…”

Sara knew she was babbling… how could this nonsense help a broken man, how could it help a desperate teenager who had just tried to take another man’s live?

She didn’t know… it seemed like she didn’t know anything at all.