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Author's Chapter Notes:
Beta by Foxriverinmate
Alex worked on as long as he could. He didn’t want to go to sleep because being alone left him oddly bereft and being alone reminded him too much of his first night in the shack. He wished Lincoln was here, a feeling he hated and yet…

He pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to relieve a headache that was threatening to blossom. Final bits of plan swirled around in his mind, competing with his continuous thoughts about what he had gotten into with Lincoln. He couldn’t explain it and what was worse; he couldn’t guarantee he wouldn’t fall into that trap again.

Pam. That’s who he had to focus on. Even though their
last conversation together hadn’t been… he’d blown her off again. Done exactly what had ended their marriage and now ended her life. He wasn’t fit for anything. He couldn’t afford to have any emotional connection to anyone but his boy and even that wasn’t...

He slowly walked to the table and grabbed a lukewarm bottle of water. His makeshift bed lay to the right. Lincoln’s, closer to the table, was unruly, unmade. His own was impeccably made up. Not even a crease in the pillow. He smiled. What would Tom have said?

Bed, that’s what he needed. A good night’s rest without thinking of past lovers, plans and dependencies. He quickly brushed his teeth and got ready. He’d almost forgotten to put out the candles, but did that too.

Still, somehow his thoughts wandered. As he tried to fall asleep he wondered what Lincoln was doing and who he was doing it with

~~~~~~

He woke up early in the morning and blinked to get used to the rays of light shining through the cracks. It seemed lighter somehow. Why was the door open?

“Good morning.”

Alex’s head shot to the right as his whole body tensed.

“Relax man, it’s just me.”

Lincoln sat on the chair, arms resting on his knees and looking quite bad. He wore the clothes he had worn yesterday as if he had slept in them and the bags under his eyes showed that the other man hadn’t slept much if at all. Why and how long had he been sitting there? Staring at what?

“How did it go?” was all that Alex could think of saying.
Lincoln didn’t answer.

“Lincoln?”

The other man moved and twisted his body to grab a bag from the table. “I brought breakfast. It’s fresh. I found this bagel bar. They had coffee in a Thermos too.” He gave it to Alex, avoiding Alex’s stare. “We got the money.” The look on his face said it all.

“Have you contacted your… friend about the passports?”

Alex took the bag from Lincoln’s hands and got up to get cups for the coffee. He didn’t care that he was half naked. After everything he’d been through with Lincoln Burrows, it would be beyond ridiculous to feel apprehensive about his state of undress.

Lincoln nodded as Alex took plates and mugs. An innocent ritual of breakfast if you didn’t take the surroundings, situation and people involved into consideration.

“She just laughed at me,” Lincoln said and Alex focused on the sound of his voice and body language to gauge what he didn’t say. Alex poured the coffee, which was steaming hot, into their mugs, and handed one to Lincoln. “I couldn’t get it up.”

Alex raised his eyebrows. He hadn’t expected that. He left the bagels where they were for the moment and waited. Lincoln obviously needed to say it, whatever it was, so he didn’t ask.

“She said I really was a faggot. That she hadn’t really believed it till then. I don’t give a flying fuck what she thinks. I like women but she… She makes my skin crawl, man. I never hit women, but…” Lincoln rubbed his right hand on his pants, his left clutching his coffee mug hard. Alex feared it would break. “I told her I’d rather be a fag than have to stick my dick in her. Maybe… I lost my temper. What if I hurt LJ with this? She could-”

Alex knew where this was going and stopped Lincoln’s hand with his own. “Listen to me, Lincoln; she gave you the money. She laughed at you. Sounds to me like she enjoyed making you look and feel bad. Did she say anything else?”

Lincoln still refused to look Alex in the eye, which was kind of annoying. “Just the usual things, you know. That she wondered what kind of cock I liked up my ass. I just-” he stopped at that.

Alex had a feeling that taking a cock up his ass was not something Lincoln did. It sounded so petty it almost made him laugh. “She won’t do anything. She would have gotten angry and let you know if she planned anything. She can’t afford to be stupid when we’re so close to the deadline.” Alex took a sip from his coffee. “Are you okay?” what he really wanted to ask was if Lincoln could do what needed to be done.

Lincoln nodded sharply and finally looked at Alex. They stared at each other and then moved to the bagels, which were pretty good if a bit greasy. Alex had a feeling he was going to regret that grease for the rest of the day.

~~~~~~

After breakfast, Lincoln had gone for a swim. It probably had something to do with Susan. Alex made his last notes, stuck them on the wall and went over the final part of his plans. It all depended on Lincoln’s contacts now and that irked him somewhat; again that dependency. He needed to take action, not wait for other people to come through. He dragged his hand through his hair looking, from door to wall. No, he wasn’t going to go after Lincoln. Not this time. He got another cup of coffee instead.
~~~~~~

“I’ll leave some of it here.” Lincoln put a big wad of cash on the table. Something Alex didn’t enjoy.

“Couldn’t you have put some of it in a safety deposit box? What if something happens? We can’t take risks like that.” Alex groused.

Lincoln shrugged. “Nothing will. It’s only a couple of thousand. I come cheap.” It was a bad pun, but Alex couldn’t stop his lips curving into a smile. Lincoln saw it and realized what he had said. “Fuck you, Mahone.” And he smiled as well.

“All right, I’ll put it somewhere safe. What about the passports. What’s the name of the contact? Where-”

Lincoln interrupted him. “No dice. My contact? I’m not about to rat him out to a fed,” Lincoln said quite forcefully.

Alex snorted. Ex-fed, that was him, as if he would turn in a small time crook selling fake passports. Still, loyalty was hard to come by these days so he should admire Lincoln for that.

“Now, I’ve bought the paint. I put it outside the shack this morning. Set something up for the jeep, all right? I’m going to get it now. It’s not far, about five miles. I should be back within two hours or so.”

“Lucky to have found it that near. Planned the distance so you wouldn’t have to walk far?” Alex asked feeling strangely playful.

Lincoln smirked and picked up a lukewarm beer from the small stash he’d brought in yesterday. “Can’t hurt, right? Just make sure you’ve got everything set up. I want to finish the car tomorrow. Last test run and then we get my boy and my brother out of the shit they’re in the day after. Right?” He seemed to need confirmation.

Alex reached out for Lincoln’s arm before he knew what he was doing. Lincoln’s arm was warm, his flesh soft. Alex was glad that the other man wore short sleeves though he didn’t want to examine why. “And then?” he asked, his tone deadly serious.

Lincoln set his jaw and looked from the hand on his arm to Alex’s face. “I know what I promised. You scratch my back, I scratch yours.” Alex nodded and let Lincoln go. “I’ll be back soon, make sure-”

“-That everything is ready. You don’t have to tell me,” Alex finished for him. Lincoln waited a few more seconds and then left. Off to get that jeep.

~~~~~~

Alex hauled in the paint and went over his plans again. There was nothing more he could do and after thirty minutes, he got bored. He didn’t want to go out for a swim and he’d cleaned the cabin as much as he wanted too.

Slowly going stir-crazy, he decided the best course of action was sleep. Catching some zees might give him an edge later when he would need every ounce of energy.
He lay down on his bed, feeling sleep seeping into his bones before it reached his brain. Just an hour or so. Until Lincoln got back.

He woke to darkness and cold. It took him a moment to get his bearings, which wasn’t good. There was a time in the past when he was up and about in seconds. Not to mention that something was off. It was dark and…why wasn’t Lincoln here?

Alex veered up in alarm. This wasn’t good. Lincoln wouldn’t just leave him like this. Not when he’d been so adamant about time and the paint. Or had he just been playing him?

Alex was wide awake within seconds. He had no idea what to do. It wasn’t as if he’d discussed this with Lincoln. Damn it, he should have made some sort of… He glanced at the phone. It was there for a reason. He took a step closer to the table, hating the feeling. He picked up the phone, slid it open and pressed the only phone number that was programmed into the phonebook. It rang and rang but there was no answer.

“God damn it, Burrows, where are you?” He opened the shack door and went outside. Lincoln’s car was still there. Nothing had changed to show him that he had been here while Alex was asleep. Although it had rained. There were actually puddles around the cabin now, which made it easier to see if there were footprints.

Maybe Susan had followed them and… That didn’t make sense. She wanted Whistler out. Even if she should find them she wouldn’t do something to Lincoln unless she was pissed off about last night and Alex didn’t think she was. It wasn’t her style. Not in her profile.

What had Lincoln said? About five miles down the road. That’s where he was going to get the jeep. Alex took another glance at the car. It sat there, mocking him.

Would he screw it up with Lincoln, this tenuous alliance if he…? Why should he care; this was business. Their kids were at stake. Lincoln would just have to accept this.

Alex leaned into the car and saw that Lincoln had left the key in the ignition. He went back to close the shack door and got into the car. It was strange to sit behind a wheel again. It seemed like years ago. He turned the key and the motor started humming. Ready to go. Alex took a deep breath and pressed the gas. He had to find his partner in crime.

~~~~~~

He had driven to the west first, but after 8 miles he hadn’t seen any sign of life and no house of any kind. He turned around again and almost got stuck in the mud. The clock was ticking and Alex got annoyed with every minute. Why the hell didn’t Lincoln call back on the damn phone?

Why had he given it to him in the first place? He had to get a hold of himself. He wasn’t supposed to have those thoughts at all. It was just business. Besides, he wasn’t really worried; why would he?

He passed their shack again and found that the road to the east was a lot worse than the one to the west. The mud tugged the wheels of the car down, but it was do-able on the main road. In the distance he saw a small clearing in the midst of the jungle and he slowed down a bit. Peering around didn’t help; it was too dark to see anything.

When he came closer he saw that it was a small creek. It didn’t seem like it was normal that it was this broad or this deep, because the road disappeared totally. It might have been the rain he’d slept through. Damn it must have been a monsoon.

He stopped the car, unsure if he should take the risk of driving through. He didn’t want to get stuck in the mud on top of everything else. He got out to check if the creek was too deep to drive through and saw something to the left, not far away from the edge of the creek. It looked like-

Alex started running. The water splashed when he continued through it and soaked his pants.

“Help.” A weak voice called. It was Lincoln’s.

Alex rounded the jeep. He saw that it was stuck in the mud and had shifted a bit. Underneath lay Lincoln, legs and abdomen swallowed by water and mud. His upper chest and head were dripping wet and he was shivering.

“Lincoln?” Alex closed in, hunching near to Lincoln’s head. Lord, he’d thought Lincoln had looked bad this morning.

“Alex, fuck, I’m glad you’re here.” Lincoln rasped and Alex grabbed his shoulder.

He looked at the jeep and could just about see what had happened. Lincoln had driven through, probably wanting to get to the shack to get working, but it had got stuck. He must have tried to push it out. Alex thought he might actually be strong enough to do it, but the ground was treacherous now it had rained. The wheels had suddenly sunk and Lincoln must have slipped. Damn how much bad luck was that? “How long have you been here?”

Lincoln tried to shake his head but grimaced. Alex didn’t want to think what kind of injuries he might have. “Don’t know. Hours? It rained when I made the purchase. Made good time-”

Yeah until now. Alex looked around again. He had the car. Maybe there might be rope in the back. He could pull the jeep to his side of the creek, but how was he going to do it without ripping Lincoln apart?

“Do you have any idea if you’re hurt?” Alex asked. Maybe Lincoln would be strong enough to crawl out himself although when Alex should actually try to be a realist…

“I’m freezing, man; can’t feel my balls or anything below or above.”

It made Alex smile; Lincoln tried too.

Alex let go of Lincoln’s shoulder and wiped some mud from his face before he stood. “Don’t make light of this.
We’ll get you out. It will be just fine. You’ll see.”

Lincoln didn’t answer, but Alex could hear him thinking. Well, Alex wasn’t going to fail. He hadn’t come this close to freedom and revenge to just… He was almost out of the creek when he looked back at the jeep. Lincoln was trapped. If he died nobody would know and Alex could…

He turned back to the car. Pam, his son, revenge… it was his recurring theme. Behind him was dependency, something twisted. The man who had seen him at his worst, beaten him… understood him… what the hell was he supposed to do now? His instincts pulled him to the car. His insides screamed. He felt sick. His son had waited much too long for his father to come home and if he did this, LJ would wait as long until Susan killed him.

Alex closed his eyes and saw images he didn’t want to see. His heart warred with his mind and he didn’t know which one he wanted to win most. He threw up in the bushes.