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Author's Chapter Notes:
Beta by Foxriverinmate
Alex took a moment as he made his decision and then walked to the car. He opened the door and sat down in the driver’s seat. The steering wheel stared back at him, the car keys still hanging in the ignition. It was cold in the water. They said that dying by hypothermia wasn’t that bad.

Alex swallowed, a rancid taste still in his mouth. He closed his eyes, reached out his hand and turned the key. The car started humming. Alex had to be strong. He had a son who counted on him. His foot on the gas did the rest.
The car jerked. He still had the brakes on and released them, then turned the car carefully on the sandy road. He didn’t want to think about what Lincoln felt now, hearing the car. He didn’t want to think about his hands on his cock or how it felt to hold him close. He didn’t want to think how easily they talked about private matters or how Lincoln had shown him so much trust even though Alex had shot his father.

He hardly gave it any gas and the car rolled slowly, putting distance between it and the water, and then Alex knew why he couldn’t do what he should. He hit the steering wheel with his fist. *Lincoln* had come back for him. Lincoln had come back for Alex. Damn it. He took his foot off the brakes and drove back in the reverse, bringing the car’s bumper close to the edge of the river.

Alex jumped out, opened the trunk and rummaged around for anything that could help. There, sheer luck of the Gods, was a rope in the back. Alex grabbed it, silently thanking Lincoln for putting basic survival items in his car, and ran back to the man in question.

Lincoln’s eyes were closed and for a moment Alex feared he’d died while Alex was contemplating letting him do just that. He reached out, but before he could touch Lincoln, Lincoln’s eyes opened. His expression pierced Alex and then Lincoln coughed, “Thank you for coming back for me.”

Alex took a few seconds before he answered. “You did the same.” Lincoln tried to nod, but Alex could see it caused him some difficulty. He didn’t know why, he wasn’t a doctor, but he’d cross that bridge when they got there.

“I found some rope in the car and turned it. That’s why it took me a moment to get back.” It was only partly a lie; it was comfortable. He wasn’t sure if Lincoln would go along with it, but… “If I tie it to the bumper of your car and the jeep's I might be able to give it the pull it needs. The problem however-”

Lincoln’s hand shot out. Wet, dripping with mud and extremely cold. He grabbed Alex’s forearm, fingers snaking around him, urgent. A flash of pain flickered in his eyes and then it disappeared. Lincoln’s voice rasped in his throat, “If you go slow, but I don’t know if I can...”

Alex glanced back at the car. He couldn’t drive it and pull Lincoln out. He could do a little distance and then run back to see if Lincoln gained a bit of freedom to move. It was risky, though, because if he pulled too much the wheels would run over Lincoln’s legs. “Do you want to risk it?” He assumed Lincoln would understand what he was talking about.

Lincoln grimaced. “I don’t see any other choice.”

Alex squeezed Lincoln’s shoulder again and got to work. He tied the rope to the bumper of the car and to the jeep’s. He hoped it would hold and that his knot was good enough. The next thing was taking the brake off the jeep. It didn’t roll back, thank God. Alex didn’t think he could deal with a Lincoln whose legs were run over by a jeep on top of everything else.

He walked back to Lincoln again and sat behind him. “I’m going to try and position you a little bit better,” he said while he used a blanket he’d found in the car to spread out underneath Lincoln. “Are you ready?” Lincoln didn’t answer but nodded. Alex put his arms around Lincoln’s chest and gently pulled him backwards. Lincoln groaned in pain. It sounded like he bit his tongue too.

“No dice, Alex,” Lincoln almost whispered, pain and exhaustion evident in his voice.

Alex crawled around to his side, so he could look Lincoln in the eyes. “Are you sure about this? Once I start, I won’t be able to stop. Are you strong enough to-”

Lincoln stopped him, a muddy, cold and weak hand on his arm. “Just do it, man. My risk.”

Alex nodded and left Lincoln. He’d better crawl out from under that car. No matter if his legs were broken. Alex was not going to deal with a dying man out here, which is exactly what would happen if he pulled the jeep over Lincoln’s legs.

He quickly made his way over to the car and had his hand on the door when he just had to look back at the scene again. It just didn’t stop did it? It was crazy enough without all of this, but it just had to go beyond insane. These things weren’t supposed to happen in real life. He wanted it to stop. He closed his eyes and thought of his son. He would get Cameron out and then… something. Maybe Lincoln knew where he could go. Michael must have thought about a place to go after…

Jeep first. Alex got in and after a moment of hesitation turned the key. Just like before the motor hummed softly. Then, it started raining again. *Fuck*. This was not good. Alex looked behind him through the window. It was now or never. He pressed the gas pedal and slowly moved forward, looking back and forth between road and what was happening in the river. The rope pulled taunt within seconds. The car hitched; it had to pull for real now.

Alex gave a little bit extra gas, but was careful with that small amount. It was agonizing because he was not sure if the rope would snap, if the jeep would move and if, if Lincoln would…

His heart hammered in his throat, the palms of his hands sweating and gliding on the steering wheel. He wished he could talk to Lincoln. Then, the jeep moved. Ever so slightly; it moved. That was good, no jerking, just… and then it did. It jerked much too fast, at least a foot forward as it rolled free. “Fuck!” Alex stopped the car straight away and raced out. Back into the water, afraid of what he would find.

“Lincoln!” He didn’t hear a scream. He heard nothing, but the splashing of the water until he rounded the jeep and... where the hell was he? He fell to his knees in the water and found Lincoln about a meter away from his earlier position. He was out cold, but free from the car.

Alex could only discern he had passed out after pulling free, but that meant he had been under water for a bit.
He had to wakeup. Especially with hypothermia added to the mix. “Lincoln, Lincoln, come on, wake up.” He pulled Lincoln closer to his chest, almost cradling the heavy man. “Lincoln Burrows, open your eyes. Damn it!” Still no response. Alex steeled his nerves and hit out, slapping his hand against Lincoln’s right cheek. “Lincoln!” Another slap, harder this time. It worked. Lincoln’s eyes didn’t open yet, but he spluttered, coughed, some water dribbling out of his mouth.

Alex didn’t rest after that. He stood and hoisted Lincoln up by putting his arms under Lincoln’s armpits, his hands coming together on Lincoln’s chest. Then the dragging began. He had to get Lincoln out of the water now. He could stay here to take in what kind of injuries he had sustained, but that wouldn’t really help.

“Lincoln, try to say something. You need to stay awake,” he puffed. Lincoln really wasn’t a lightweight man. “Lincoln.” He kept trying as he neared the car.

“Alex…” Lincoln finally answered in a thin voice. Alex wondered if he was still lucid. At least they were out of the water, but if his legs really were injured, dragging him across the ground wouldn’t be fun. It was then that he saw the extent of Lincoln’s ordeal. His entire lower body, from stomach to toes was covered in mud. Alex was going to have to clean that and he wasn’t looking forward to what he might find underneath.

He eased Lincoln onto the ground, his arms quivering with the effort. His back ached and he was positive he could feel every muscle in his body but for now he had to forget about that. He glanced at the jeep. It hadn’t sunk again; it just stood there waiting to be pulled further out of the muck. Alex sighed. What a day to get out of the shack. He closed his eyes for a second, tilted his face to the sky and felt the rain gently falling down. He had forgotten it was raining but now that he was aware of it again...

Alex wiped his hand across his face and opened a door of the car. He crouched next to Lincoln after that. It almost looked as if he had fallen asleep, but his eyelids moved and his mouth was half open. “Lincoln, are you still with me?”

Lincoln’s hand moved and clumsily tried to grab Alex’s. Alex helped him and bowed his fingers to tighten the grip. “Yeah, yeah… it’s cold.”

“I know, it’s raining and-” Alex looked up again. Lincoln knew this already, but hypothermia had probably set in in full force. Alex needed to get him to the shack.

“I’m going to pull you into the backseat of the car, but it’s going to hurt.”

Lincoln gave Alex’s hand a little squeeze, as far as that was still possible, and he opened his eyes a bit. As Alex suspected, Lincoln didn’t look like he was quite there. “I can take it,” Lincoln rasped.

He would have to. Alex let go of Lincoln’s hand and pulled him into an upright position, with his back to the opened car door. Then he walked around to the other side, opened that one too and crawled onto the back seat. He didn’t worry about the mud and water he got on it. “Are you ready?” he asked and Lincoln coughed as an answer. “All right, here we go.” Without wasting more time, Alex retook his earlier position when he’d pulled Lincoln out of the water and tugged, hoisted and wrestled Lincoln onto the backseat. It was agony for them both, but Lincoln did try to help with his arms.

He was finally in after what seemed like hours of struggling and then Lincoln promptly fainted. This wasn’t good. “Lincoln, you can’t-” Alex wiped Lincoln’s face and cupped his cheek. “Lincoln?” he rubbed Lincoln’s chest.

He didn’t want to hit him again. Somehow the small movements worked. Maybe it was the warmth. With a shudder Lincoln came to and moaned. Alex bowed over him, his face close to Lincoln’s. “Stay with me now. I don’t care what you do. Do algebra or something.”

Alex started to back away out of the car when Lincoln let out a short bark of a laugh and said in a rough whisper, “Michael’s the one who did algebra. I did car radios.” Alex couldn’t help but let out a hysterical laugh as well. This was beyond anything that…

Alex closed the doors and checked the rope. He would pull the jeep to the side of the road, take out the key and leave it for the next day. He just hoped the jeep would still be there then.

The task was done within a few minutes. The mud gave way easily, the jeep jerking to dry land and Alex suspected Lincoln had just been very unlucky and probably had gotten stuck in some sort of muddy hole. He locked the jeep, took the key and got into the front seat of the car. One last glance at Lincoln told him his partner was still doing his best to stay awake, but not by much. Alex drove to the shack as fast as he could.

~~~~~~

The moment the car came to a halt in front of the shack, Alex jumped out. He opened the door of the shack first, ran in and put his mattress underneath Lincoln’s, shoving all but one of the blankets to the side. He would use his to try and warm Lincoln up and Lincoln’s would cover them both. From basic training, he remembered the signs of hypothermia and knew Lincoln needed a hospital. Then again, so did people who kicked drug habits apparently.
Alex was done in less than a minute and hurried back to the car. Lincoln was plucking at his clothes and had rolled up into himself.

“Lincoln, stop.” Alex said loudly, batting Lincoln’s hands away from his half-open shirt. This wasn’t good. Lincoln was still shivering, but when victims started to try and shed their clothes there were nearing a shitload of trouble. “Here we go, Linc.” Alex muttered as he pulled Lincoln out of the car and over the ground. He stopped for a second when he realized that he hadn’t said *Lincoln*, but didn’t want to think about that right now.

Hauling Lincoln through the mud had been hard, but at least Lincoln had been still. Now that he *was* moving it wasn’t helping Alex at all. “Damn it, Lincoln, I’m trying to help you.”

Lincoln slurred, “is hot.”

Alex fixed his arms tighter around Lincoln’s chest, hunched closer and whispered in his ear. “No it’s not.”

Lincoln shuddered again, went slack and Alex used that lapse to pull him the last meter. They finally ended up on the mattress. Alex was glad he’d left that single blanket on the mattresses. It wouldn’t help if the cold seeped through from the ground up. “All right, Linc, I’ll be right back.”

Alex ran back to the car, closed the door, then the shack door and cursed the lack of central heating or even a fireplace. He filled up the electric boiler with water and hoped it would come to a boil fast. He turned and got down on his knees next to Lincoln who was trying to roll up again. “Lincoln, listen to me. I’m going to get you out of your clothes really fast and then roll you in the blankets all right? I need you to work with me, don’t fight it.”

Surprisingly, Lincoln gave him a shaky nod and Alex undid the buttons on Lincoln’s shirt. Leaning Lincoln forward he got it off fast and rolled it in a bundle to rub some mud off. He rubbed hard, the friction creating heat. Then the water was done so he threw Lincoln’s shirt in a corner and he grabbed a towel. He doused the towel with hot water and rubbed more of Lincoln’s chest. Cleaning it fast and providing enough friction to heat him up a bit, or so Alex hoped. He couldn’t let Lincoln lie around with a bare chest too long. Alex put the blankets over Lincoln’s chest and pulled on Lincoln’s shoes, socks, pants and underwear and in two swift moves, they were off. A stray thought of Tom entered Alex’s mind; he’d learned the ability to undress fast in very different circumstances.

Lincoln’s legs and groin were already drying with the mud and the towel was getting beyond cleaning so he grabbed another one and only did what was necessary. Lincoln’s legs were turning up red and bruised underneath the mud, but Alex couldn’t feel any breaks, which was good.
His heart constricted as he was working on Lincoln’s lower area, not knowing why. Alex pulled the blankets down across Lincoln’s body then, put more water in the boiler and then made a cocoon around Lincoln with the blankets, digging underneath his back, legs and ass.

“Lincoln, can you say something?” Alex tried, seeing if he was still with him.

Lincoln let out a shuddering groan that sounded like a sigh and whispered thinly, his eyes finding Alex’s, looking a strange bright green “thank, you for coming back for me.”

Alex swallowed; his throat and face felt tight. He patted Lincoln’s padded chest and got the boiling water to make two mugs of instant soup. A bit of warmth inside would help as well, both for him and Lincoln.

Alex stood in front of Lincoln who had closed his eyes, with the two mugs in his hand. Alex was hovering over him, aware of his own wet clothes. He let out the breath he was holding and put the mugs near the wall. He quickly pulled off all his clothes, got a third towel to rub off some mud and dry himself up and rolled Lincoln onto his side. Lincoln went willingly, not resisting one bit. Alex pulled on the blankets and even though he hadn’t planned on going skin on skin, it was probably the best course of action. He crawled next to Lincoln and tucked the
blankets behind his own back.

They needed to be upright to drink the hot soup, so Alex had to shimmy them both into position, Lincoln hardly responding at all. It took Alex a moment to work it out, but before long he was plastered against Lincoln’s naked back, leaning partly upwards against the wall and urging Lincoln to drink a bit of the warm soup.

He thought back to when he had first seen Lincoln’s picture on that wall in Chicago. It hadn’t done Lincoln justice and boy, Alex hadn’t expected to end up with him like this. Alex wished they weren't and yet…

Lincoln drank half of the soup and Alex took some as well. He pulled Lincoln with him as he tried to lie down, burrowing into Lincoln, a leg between his and his hands rubbing Lincoln’s cold chest. He started murmuring into Lincoln’s ear even though he wasn’t really aware of what he was saying, puffing warm breath onto his neck.

They just had to get warm first. It would be okay.