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Author's Chapter Notes:
Beta by Foxriverinmate
Lincoln had left him alone to stare at the fire. He had gone to the lake again and Alex suspected the other man tried to be outside as much as possible to enjoy the freedom. There was a difference between a fresh lake and a 4 by 4 isolation cell. On the other hand, maybe it was the feeling of being able to do what you wanted when you wanted to do it.

The thoughts brought him back to his own situation. He hated taking drugs, but he always knew… Now he was being pressed into doing something when it wasn’t convenient. Was it ever going to be? He threw a twig on the dying embers of the fire and a short flare gave a little bit of extra warmth. Lincoln had given him his last pill yesterday just before they got drunk. He hadn’t worried about it this morning because he’d expected a pill tonight. He had no security about it and yet he had fallen into false sense of security that was an illusion. Lincoln Burrows; his pill pusher.

His body already started to protest the absence of his hit. However, Lincoln had gotten pills that weren’t as strong as his previous ones. Alex was continuously experiencing a light version of withdrawal simply because he didn’t get enough. He chalked a lot of it up to his injuries, but he knew that not all of it was due to that.
He expected that he would be hit by full blown withdrawal tomorrow, in the evening at the latest. That meant he only had tonight and maybe the morning and part of the afternoon.

Well, he thought as he got up, muscles groaning, time was wasting then. He threw sand on the remnants of the fire and went inside the cabin.

The wall was waiting just as he’d left it. This was quite logical. Just the fact that he’d thought that very thought showed Alex that he wasn’t thinking clearly at all. He’d just have to try harder. He lit two more candles and planted them close to his work. Then he started to re-read and go over the basics of his little plans. He didn’t have grand plans like Michael, but it should be enough to close any hole that might open beneath their feet. He just wished he’d had his pair of glasses.
~~~~~~

He squinted, deciphering certain sandy roads and names on the map when he heard Lincoln come in.

“What are you doing?” Lincoln asked.

Alex couldn’t quite place the tone of voice. Probably because he wasn’t trying. He made a non-committal gesture as he continued to work.

Lincoln came up behind him, his shadow wiping out every shred of light Alex had. Alex said impatiently, “Lincoln, I need to get this done before I’m no longer capable.”

Lincoln snorted. “You won’t be capable of doing squat when you’ve died of exhaustion.”

Lincoln smelled of fresh water, wood and something musky. It was an oddly nice smell. Alex shook himself out of it. “I didn’t know you cared,” he said roughly, tracing one path on the map with his finger.

Lincoln moved to the table, giving Alex his light back again. It was becoming hard to function. The drought in his throat had returned and his bones ached. Not to mention that he was tired as hell, but no way was he going to concede to that.

“I’ll make you a cup of coffee,” Lincoln said and Alex heard him pouring water into the boiler and switching the device on. After that, it was silent. Alex glanced behind him. Ass perched on the table, Lincoln leaned on it as he stared at Alex.

Alex gritted his teeth and went back to his work. “What?”

He didn’t look, but he could imagine Lincoln
shrugging. “Nothing.”

Alex hated behavior like that. It was how Pam got under his skin before… he shook his head to get those thoughts out. He was not going to be bullied into whatever it was that Lincoln Burrows wanted him to do. He ignored the eyes burning a hole in his back and wrote some directions on the wall. Their biggest problem would be that jeep. He really needed -

The click of the electric boiler announced that the water was ready. Two mugs clattered on the table and Lincoln poured water into them. Using a spoon to put the coffee in, he made sure it sounded extra loud and annoying. Alex balled his fist around the pen he was holding until he couldn’t take it anymore. Halfway to furious for reasons too numerous to contemplate, Alex turned and took two steps closer to Lincoln.

“Why are you doing this?!”

Lincoln was smart enough to leave the mugs where they were, because Alex would have done something regrettable if he hadn’t. “You can beat going cold turkey. The first days are the worst, after that you can deal, you’re tough. I am counting on you to get back on your feet within a week. But you can’t do it if you screw yourself over before you even get into it. Already told you; I’m not going to bury your corpse.” Lincoln crossed his arms in front of his chest as if he wanted to emphasize that he was still the boss.

Alex shoved one hand in his back pocket and played with his pen with the other as he calmed his breathing. “You don’t know that. If I work now, I… until I can’t-”

Lincoln closed the distance between them, grabbing Alex’s arms. “Listen to me; you were already going down this road when I found you. You’re already sliding down because of the amount I’ve given you.”

Alex shook his head. He didn’t want to look Lincoln in the eye. This was humiliating. “This isn’t news,” he tried. Lincoln’s fingers dug into Alex’s biceps.

Lincoln growled, accepting the resistance. “You need to sit down and have that coffee with me. We’ll go to bed afterwards. I want to get this over with as soon as we can.”

Alex barked out a laugh. Lincoln wanted to get this over with? Well, he wouldn’t want to inconvenience him even more.

Nonetheless, Alex did as Lincoln requested and sat on a chair the moment Lincoln let him go. They sat opposite each other, with a coffee mug in their hands. Neither one spoke. Alex didn’t know which pair of eyes was more active.

After the drink, Alex stood and took care of business in the toilet. His teeth needed brushing too. Lincoln had already undressed when Alex was done, pants and shirt draped across the chair. He’d also pulled his ’bed’ as far away from Alex as was possible, which wasn’t that far. Maybe two feet max.

Alex threw his own clothes on the other chair when Lincoln took his turn with the toilet and crawled into his bed. The blankets were oddly comforting. He closed his eyes and was asleep before Lincoln returned. His night proved to be worse than the night before. This time, Pam accused him together with Apolskis. She hated him and Alex agreed with her.
~~~~~~

Alex opened his eyes and immediately regretted that he did. The piercing light bore into his skull, even though he couldn’t really see a source for the brightness. He recognized the metallic taste in his mouth. He’d had that before, when he was in the alley and on the chair… he rolled onto his back and let out a small groan. He felt pain in areas that had no business to complain.

“How’re you feeling?” Lincoln’s voice rumbled from beside him. Alex turned his head and looked into Lincoln’s eyes.

He was on his back as well, mirroring Alex’s position. It seemed that they did that a lot these past days, mirroring each other…

Alex coughed and rasped, which made Lincoln break their eye contact as he reached up for a bottle of water that stood on the table. His blanket pooled around his waist as he sat up, his bare back to Alex this time. This was a novelty, since Alex had seen Lincoln Burrow’s naked chest more frequently than any other man he had ever met. This was so fucked up.

Lincoln gave him the bottle and Alex sat up. “Thank you.”
He coughed again. “I feel like shit. How are you feeling?” Lincoln laughed at the answer and stared at Alex as he attempted to let the water wash away the metallic taste. That didn’t work of course.

“Just trying to make sure my investment won’t go sour.”

Lincoln got up, blanket falling away completely now.
The man’s legs were muscled. Not a real surprise there, but Alex had never given it much thought. Thick thighs, muscles roping up and down. He realized he’d let his eyes roam and scrambled to sit with his back to the wall, following Lincoln’s moves.

Lincoln was doing something on the table. Presumably some breakfast ritual. “You think you can handle some coffee? Some dry bread might work as well,” Lincoln asked, not the least uncomfortable about his lack of dress.

Alex shook his head, but then realized this gesture might be interpreted the wrong way. He weakly waved his hand. “I can take food. I don’t feel sick.” Alex’s eyes left Lincoln and wandered to the wall. Uniforms, they needed uniforms too. How to do that without abducting two guards?

“You’re thinking again. What is it?” Lincoln asked as the coffee water was slowly heating up.

Alex stood slowly, every bone in his body hurting, and dragged himself to the wall.

Lincoln let out a sigh. “Alex, what is the problem?”

Did Lincoln read that from Alex’s face or his body language? It surprised him. “I was just… we need two uniforms to go with the jeep, but I don’t want to start a murder spree among the guards.”

Lincoln stood beside him; Alex hadn’t even heard him coming up. “We don’t have to. Sucre’s started work at the prison. I’ll see if he can find out if they have a laundry service of some sort. Maybe we can steal some. No way that they will regulate everything that closely.”

It was an idea. Crude and simple, but then again, so were Alex’s. “All right, get him on that and you-”

Lincoln gave him a short pat on the back and it stopped Alex speaking quite effectively. Alex was actually shocked the man touched him like that.

“I’ll take care of it, Alex. Sit back down and eat something. You can tell me the rest, but only while you’re eating.”

Who appointed him mother hen and fucking saint? Alex got annoyed again and wanted to lash out. He turned to face Lincoln who smiled. The bastard actually smiled. He probably enjoyed seeing Alex in pain.

“Don’t try it, man. I know the feeling. Control it, there’s no reason for giving in to it at this stage,” Lincoln stated and went back to the table to make another cup of ghastly coffee.

Alex had no idea how to respond.

He stood, feeling awkward and he shifted his gaze to the wall. Lincoln didn’t say anything else, but Alex suspected he looked at Alex now and then. His mind was frazzled, his thoughts scattered all over the place. He looked down at his hands and saw them shaking. He felt tears threaten and had no idea why. What if Lincoln abandoned him? For some reason that frightened him more than being beaten into a pulp. Swallowing and gaining composure, he turned on his heels, took the necessary steps and sat down at the table.

Lincoln pushed a coffee mug at him and motioned to the plate of sandwiches.

“Thank you,” Alex said. Lincoln nodded and started to eat his breakfast. Alex did the same although all feelings of hunger had left him.

“So, what are your orders, general?” Lincoln asked without malice in his voice.

Alex chewed the last bit of bread in his mouth and answered carefully. “Keep an eye on me. The moment when you think I am even less trustworthy than you already think I am…”

Lincoln waved him away. “That’s not what I meant, man.”

Alex pulled his chair closer to Lincoln’s as if they were conspiring. “It is important, Lincoln. If I become desperate…You have no idea how lethal I can become.”

Lincoln’s face grew dark and he didn’t answer immediately. “Believe me I know that you’re lethal and I will kick you in the nuts and tie you up if it needs to be done, but till then we are going to plan what we can just as you wanted to do yesterday.”

Alex nodded. “Do you have a pen and paper?” Alex asked and Lincoln leaned sideways to delve into his trouser’s pocket. He pulled out what was needed. Alex started to dictate part of his plans. He spewed out just about everything he could think of causing Lincoln’s notebook to become fuller and fuller with every minute.

He’d even remembered cases he’d worked on and plucked information from those. A murderer had bought shoes that were two sizes smaller than his own, cut off the soles and glued those beneath his own shoes. It had thrown them off for some time, looking for a guy with smaller feet when they compared evidence from crime scenes.

They could use this if they needed to go somewhere and steal something, like those uniforms. It would be harder to connect them to a crime and they would be long gone should the Panamanian Police ever connect the dots.

They sat like that for hours. Lincoln wrote, still only wearing his pair of boxers, while Alex walked. He walked back and forth from the wall to the table, sitting down as much as he could to keep the worsening withdrawal symptoms at bay, but it was like keeping a storm at bay. It would come, no matter what.

Finally, Lincoln’s notebook was full. Alex suspected he hadn’t been straightforward and structured in everything he’d been saying. He hoped Lincoln could make head or tail of it. Alex couldn’t anymore.

Lincoln put the notebook on the table; his hand lay on it as he stared at the scribbled-covered pages. “I’m going to try to get everything done, Alex, but no way-”

Alex interrupted him. “Get me through this.” He started shaking, sweat running down his back. His defences had breached.