It took them some time to get to land again; to the safe haven that was the harbor. Lincoln got increasingly antsy and Alex couldn’t blame him. If they weren’t on time, LJ would be toast. He couldn’t shake Whistler’s words though and heard the voice in his head every time he looked at Lincoln, who was flanked by his brother every step of the way. There simply wasn’t room for Alex even though he wanted to make sure Lincoln was all right every time he coughed and more.
They said their goodbyes to the McGradys, but Alex kept his distance. He hardly knew the kid anyway and frankly didn’t really care. He noticed Lincoln doing the same and stealing a glance Alex’s way. Alex didn’t know how to interpret it. Had Michael said anything? Was he influencing Lincoln already? Lincoln had made a promise to Alex and that meant something. Didn’t it?
When the McGradys left with the truck the rest of the group made their way over to the second hand car that Lincoln had parked days in advance. Naturally, Lincoln got in the driver’s seat and Michael got in next to him. That left the back seat for Whistler and Alex. It made Alex feel as if he was an outcast; someone with a scary disease.
Lincoln stepped on the gas and the car jerked. Alex felt more uncomfortable by the minute; Whistler was watching him from the left and Michael’s eyes were on him through the mirror. He missed the shed already. He had more freedom there.
Then Whistler moved his hand and touched Alex’s. He pulled back just as fast. Whistler gave him a note, a small note. Alex couldn’t take the chance to look. Not with Michael staring in the mirror.
Alex guessed they were about half a mile from the meeting point when Lincoln stopped the car. It was silent for a moment and Alex feared Whistler would take his chance and jump out and run forcing Alex to make a decision, but he didn’t.
“Alex, can you go with Michael and-” Lincoln said, not looking at him. Michael, however, still did. “She might expect something, but you’re a, a good shot.”
Alex snorted. “We’ve already discussed this, Lincoln. She will expect it and most definitely have a goon or two stashed away, probably near your son.”
Michael turned around in the car. His eyes didn’t even give Whistler a second glance; so much for bonding in prison. “Then we’ll have to give them a reason to get out of their hiding place, won’t we, Alex?” Michael hated his guts, Alex was sure of that and going anywhere with Michael should give him shivers down his spine. However, he still had faith that Michael was who he was; a pacifist down to the core, not a killer.
Alex nodded and opened his door. “All right, but you stick to the plan.”
Michael followed his example. “Meaning that you’ll lead and I’ll follow?” he stated more than asked.
Alex cocked his head and looked at Lincoln. He was finally looking back and nodded with encouragement. Alex wanted to give Lincoln a final hug, to give him strength, but a look was all he could give him. Lincoln seemed to get it though. His eyes softened for a moment, his eyes going down before he started the car again. Then he left Alex and Michael standing on the road.
“Follow me. We’ll have to run. I have studied the maps and there’s a short cut,” Alex said, not bothering to shoot Michael a glance to see if he was following. When he heard the footsteps behind him, he didn’t need to check anyway.
He could hear a woman’s voice pierce the forest’s atmosphere when Michael and he sneaked up to the clearing. Lincoln stood in front of the car, Whistler next to him, a gun trained on both.
“Don’t tell me that you didn’t bring Michael. He escaped with you, after all. Do you think I’m stupid?” A woman dressed in black leather or something like it stood in front of him, short cropped black hair finishing the look. Lincoln remained still, stoically not moving, although Alex could see a degree of hatred in his eyes he had never seen before.
Lincoln clenched one fist. Alex prayed he wouldn’t let himself be goaded into anything. “Michael was hurt; I left him with the kid and his father.”
Alex cringed. Lincoln really was a terrible liar.
The woman laughed. “And what about Mr. Mahone? You left him behind as well?”
Alex could see shock flicker across Lincoln’s face. Damn it, he should have warned him that she knew. “Don’t tell me he was hurt or was that part of your sex games?”
Alex shot a glance next to him. Michael’s face didn’t betray any of his thoughts; his eyes though… they shifted from Alex to Lincoln and Alex knew that he was trying to add things up. She walked closer to Lincoln and trailed a finger across his chest. Alex almost rushed out, but stayed back. Surprisingly, a hand on his chest, Michael’s hand, helped him focus as well.
“I’m curious, Lincoln. That night you came to me limping; did he take you hard against the shack door or was that just an act? Because I know that you two have a liking for fucking against shack walls.” She stopped her finger and leaned towards Lincoln ear, still speaking loud enough for Alex to hear. “You make such a hot pair. I should have taken pictures.”
She walked back to her original spot, smiling while Lincoln looked positively disturbed. Alex knew the feeling. How did she know? Had she followed Lincoln before? Visited them from time to time? God, what else had she seen? Laughing at them as they tried to fool her. Maybe she had reported more than what was necessary to whomever she worked for. He squeezed the trigger of his gun. “Not yet,” Michael whispered, keeping Alex grounded for the second time. He didn’t need it though. He never rushed into something like that. He never –
“Where’s LJ?” Lincoln managed to ask, his temper in check but clearly boiling beneath the surface, though it was quite obvious where LJ was. The van behind Susan was hard to miss.
Alex hoped the van was soundproof.
Susan kept on smiling; Alex suspected she was really enjoying this, knowing Michael heard as well. “What was it, Lincoln, that made you screw that junkie? Or was it just that? You picked him up in an alley and brought him home with you? Gutter animal finds mate in the sewer? Really romantic when you’re into that sort of stuff.”
Lincoln clenched and unclenched his fists again, his jaw setting and unlocking. “I want my son. Whistler is right here.”
Susan looked away, right in their direction. “Not until Michael gets out of the-”
Whistler took that moment to try and make a break for it and Susan started shooting at him. At his feet to be exact, making him stop before he got far.
“Stay here,” Michael shot at Alex as he ran into the foliage to their right.
Alex bit back a curse, unsure of where his focus should be; Michael, Susan or Whistler.
Susan knocked on the van as she had Whistler on the ground. As suspected the van door opened to reveal a goon, LJ bound and gagged behind him.
“LJ!” Lincoln shouted and walked all of two paces in the direction of his son.
Susan shot into the ground in front of his feet, stopping his advance, before aiming for Whistler again. Alex cursed this time. Where the hell had Michael gone? Why couldn’t everybody stay calm for once!
“Get rid of them now.” Susan said to her goon. “Save sonny boy for last. I’m sure he’ll enjoy seeing daddy die.” She laughed out loud and Alex felt his palms sweat. He aimed; he couldn’t afford to miss and tried to calm his shaking hand. What a time to miss his pills.
“Would you miss the man or his cock, Alex?” She shouted, still enjoying herself.
Alex began to think she was insane. The goon leveled his gun at Lincoln’s head. Alex wished he could count on Michael; there was no way he could shoot fast enough if Susan –
He had to do it now. He couldn’t wait much longer. Taking deep breaths, Alex squeezed the trigger. The bullet left his gun and slammed right into the goon’s left temple. Presumably, he was dead on impact and thank God he hadn’t used his last breath to shoot. As he suspected however, Susan twirled like a professional killer ready to shoot Lincoln instead. Alex took a shot at her. Lincoln dove aside and thus Susan missed. So did Alex, however.
“Lincoln!” He shouted and revealed himself fully, with his hands in the air, hoping to divert her attention.
Lincoln shook his head at him, but she took the bait if only for a few seconds.
She sneered. “I knew it. Your *lover* is here, Lincoln. How nauseating?” She put her heel into the back of Lincoln’s knee, making him grunt in pain, and aimed for his neck. Alex closed his eyes, knowing he couldn’t stop her from killing Lincoln. A shot rang out, then another and another.
She would only have needed one bullet for Lincoln and Alex was still alive. Alex’s eyes flew open again and saw Susan lying on the ground, face turned towards his direction, dead eyes looking at him. Michael stood behind her, a proverbial smoking gun pointed at her unmoving back. It was shocking to say the least; had Sara meant more to Michael than Alex was led to believe?
Lincoln had already gotten up and hurried over to LJ, untying his son while talking to him in hurried whispers. The moment the boy was loose they embraced and Alex couldn’t help but think of Cameron. It tightened his chest and he turned away from the scene.
Whistler was watching him and Alex nodded just a little, but enough for the man to understand. Apparently, he didn’t need to be told any other way and he ran. It took Michael a few seconds to realize Whistler was escaping and he shouted, “Whistler!” Whistler didn’t listen. Lincoln jumped up, but that was about all. Their prisoner was gone.
Michael walked up to Alex; he seemed oddly tired all of a sudden, the killer all but gone. “You let him go.”
Alex contemplated lying, but he just didn’t care anymore. “He was of no further use to us.”
Michael looked back at Lincoln and LJ before turning to Alex again. “You’re not that stupid; you know exactly what kind of value he could have had,” Michael hissed.
Alex looked over Michael’s shoulder. Father and son were talking; LJ was barely containing his tears. Alex didn’t belong here. He was a fool to have hoped for anything more.
Alex started to walk. “Take care of your brother, Michael.” He said so softly only Michael would hear.
Michael didn’t take the way out though. He stood and said in a level voice. “You can’t just leave, Alex.”
Alex was aware that Lincoln and LJ had stopped talking. His feet had stopped of their own accord. All eyes were probably on him, but he had to be strong. He couldn’t look any of them in the eye; not now. “I have to do for my wife what you did for Sara, Michael,” Alex almost whispered. It was so hard to acknowledge Pam’s gruesome death out loud.
“Alex.” Low, rough, that was Lincoln’s voice. It surprised Alex. “We had a deal.” And the voice came closer. Alex stuffed his hand in his pocket. He couldn’t… he couldn’t. “Alex.”
Lincoln was close now and his presence made Alex’s heart jump flip flops. It was wrong, so wrong to fall for this man.
“It’s all right, Lincoln. You don’t have to. I won’t hold you to it.” Alex managed to grind out. He had to get out of here. He didn’t really care what Michael or the kid knew, but all of this, it was a death trap.
He could hear the leaves on the ground crack underneath Lincoln’s boot. “Thank you for saving me, again. Just give me a little time with my son. We’ll get everything sorted out. Sucre will have that house in Costa Rica ready for Mike and LJ and I’ve got those passports.” Lincoln let out a puff of air, partly sighing, partly exhaling or maybe just letting go of tension and annoyance. “You don’t have to go. You’re not alone in this.”
Alex closed his eyes. He choked out a laugh that sounded more like a sob. “Lincoln-”
“A few more hours, man, that’s not too much to ask is it?” Lincoln started to sound a bit ticked off now and it made Alex smiled for real. He shook his head. Lincoln coughed behind him and cut Alex’s amusement short. Worry crept into Alex’s heart again.
“All right. I’ll wait,” he answered.
He could imagine Lincoln nodding his head in satisfaction and then walking back to LJ. Alex felt it was safe to turn now. Somebody had to do something about Susan anyway.
He was wrong; it wasn’t safe. Michael stood right there, arms folded in front of his chest, eyes boring into him. Michael, brilliant Michael Scofield who’d sacrificed his life to save his older brother from death. Alex wasn’t going to be stared down by this man though. Not after everything that had happened. He had paid a part of his dues, at least to this family.
“How much of what she said was true?” Michael asked.
The air seemed too still and yet the answer was so simple. “Everything,” Alex said and walked to Susan’s corpse.
Alex worked fast to put the bodies in the van and Michael started helping him right after Alex started to drag Susan away. She was heavier than she looked, but with Michael’s help the chore was done with ease. Lincoln had taken LJ to their car, giving him something to drink and a snack to eat, continuing to talk and cajole LJ into talking to him. Alex watched them from the corner of his eye and saw the kid do the same. The past events alone would be enough to screw with his head, not to mention the added bonus of a mental picture of his dad with the guy who was responsible for his imprisonment.
When both the goon and Susan were in the van, Alex took out his matches, but rethought his action. He offered them to Michael. They locked eyes and Alex cleared his throat. “It might help.”
Michael hesitated, but he took them. Alex turned towards the car, happy to be done with it and leaving it all behind them. He hoped against all odds that Michael would be able to get past Sara’s death now that he had killed and burnt the woman responsible; but then again, he probably would not be.
LJ looked up at him. “I suppose I have to thank you now, right?” He didn’t sound very enthusiastic, his face betraying a great amount of distrust and dislike. Alex wondered if he had asked his father about Susan’s comments.
Alex shot a look at the van. “No you don’t. Just stay out of trouble this time.” Then he focused on Lincoln, ignoring the indignant splutter and flash of annoyance on LJ’s face. “Lincoln, we have to get out of here now. If the gunshots didn’t warn anybody, this fire certainly will.”
Lincoln had put his hand on his son’s shoulder, tried to keep in another a cough and nodded at Alex. He stood. “Mike! Come on!” he hollered to his brother and Alex winced. The man was so damned loud. But his voice; it made him think of another time when his voice didn’t have that kind of strength at all.
Alex grabbed Lincoln’s arm before he knew it, needing to touch, to feel. Lincoln’s heat shot right through him. “Linc, you’re still coughing. How do you feel?” He stared into Lincoln’s eyes, his face so close. Alex’s heart beat a bit faster.
“I’m fine Alex, it’s just a bug.” Lincoln didn’t sound angry at Alex’s show of worry and affection. He didn’t shrug out of Alex’s touch either. It was just them for a moment, a roaring fire behind them, the smell of burning flesh in the air. Lincoln’s arm in Alex’s hand was not enough, but at least they touched if only for a moment. Then Michael passed them and cleared his throat, making them aware of the fact that there were people watching. Alex let go of Lincoln and Lincoln backed away to the driver’s seat as if nothing strange was going on.
A minute later, Alex found himself on the backseat, next to Michael Scofield. LJ was looking at him through the mirror and Michael looked at him from the left. Alex stifled a bark of a laugh and dragged his hand across his face. What a farce.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Beta by the amazing Foxy!