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Author's Chapter Notes:
beta by Foxy.
As always, comments are way to lift an author's spirit;-)
“I don’t care what you’re saying, you fucking asshole,” Burrows boomed. “You’re dead.” Alex felt the blade go deeper and knew he would have been with Pam soon if only he hadn’t damned himself to Hell. He sucked in his breath and waited for the snarl on Burrow’s face to fade away. It did, but not in the way he expected it to.

“Mahone!” The voice sounded different and something shook him. Alex opened his eyes, which was strange since he could have sworn they were open already. Burrows towered over him, looking at him with uncertainty. There was no hint of the hatred he’d shown earlier. A dream. It must have been a dream or was he hallucinating again? God, he hoped not; he needed his bearings.

Alex could see the sunlight that had barely begun to shine coming through the cracks of the wooden wall and he saw Burrows more clearly. Burrows didn’t speak and turned to leave the cabin when he realized Alex was awake. Alex had had a bad night, but not as bad as when he was tied to the chair. Physically his situation was better. He didn’t want to think about the mental anguish that was heaped upon him.

However, last night’s revelations had made sure that sleep wasn’t that much of an option anyway. Even though he tried not to, he kept replaying every horror scenario of Pam’s death in his mind. He loathed himself for being the cause of it all.

He guessed that Burrows didn’t have much of a night either since the man had been sitting on that chair. Alex was surprised he had fallen asleep at all and wondered to a degree why he had been dreaming about Burrows instead of Pam. There was a healthy amount of fear lingering, but not for his death. Maybe he should try and talk Burrows into killing him. Maybe the company would leave his boy alone if they knew Alex was dead. Then again, probably not. Sighing as he tried to get up, Alex decided to chalk his dream up to anxiety, pain, exhaustion and his grief.

The door opened again to admit Burrows. “I’m going to get some food and I need to show my face at the hotel, visit Michael... Going to have to tie you up again.” Burrows stated the fact without emotion, but Alex felt fear grip him. “I’ll be back later. Anything you prefer, dinner wise?” Burrows continued.

Alex cleared his throat, trying to sound confident when he wasn’t. “I would like to eat and drink something before you… leave.”

Burrows nodded. “I’ll leave what is left of yesterday’s grub near you. I’ll tie your legs and one hand. I’m showing you some trust, Mahone. Don’t betray it.” Alex almost snorted at that, but he was grateful he wasn’t dragged back to the chair. He stared at it. It stood in a beam of light, outlining the misery it had caused him.

“Wounds still giving you grief?” Burrows asked as he opened the brown bag to get out bread and instant coffee.

“Which ones?” Alex asked in return.

Burrows stilled, looked sideways. “Mahone, listen, I am sorry, all right? Everything that’s going on...I really never thought-”

Alex didn’t want to hear it, even though the man probably meant well. “It’s fine, I understand. Just…leave it.”

They didn’t speak again until Burrows had made them a cup of coffee, put a bottle of water next to Alex and had provided him with three sandwiches. Alex wondered if he could even eat one. “Don’t screw me over when I’m gone,” Burrows said as he stood up, throwing half of his abysmal coffee away.

“I wouldn’t be able even if I wanted too.” Alex rasped into his own coffee cup. Burrows had gotten the rope and started to bind Alex’s legs. He gave him some room to maneuver, but it wasn’t much since he now had a table pretending to be his ball and chains.

“Are you right or left-handed.” Burrows moved up with the rope, looking at Alex in question.

Alex was amazed again at how bad Burrows was at this. Alex could just lie to him and he’d probably believe it. “I’m right-handed.”

Burrows grabbed his hand and started to tie him to a ring in the wall. “You should have looked, “Alex said as he a cough rattled his body.

Burrows was done and he’d turned away. “What’s that?”

Alex motioned to his hands. “To see if I’m right or left-handed. You could have seen me eating and drinking, but you didn’t pay attention, did you?”

Burrows sat on his haunches, his left hand going to his neck, massaging it. “No I didn’t. Pretty stupid huh?” The man looked annoyed with himself.

“Not really. It’s just... strange behavior. You’re surprising me.”

Burrows got up and barked out a short, bitter laugh. “What? That I’m stupid?”

Alex found himself smiling even though he had no patience for self-pity.

“No, your file and your profile are 100% correct, but they don’t show that you are such a bad crook.”

Burrows took one last glance at him. “Thank God my hostage tells me how to do this then.” He smiled a smile that didn’t reach his eyes and left.

Alex was left alone once more, but this time he was less afraid than he had been a day ago.

Alex had been sleeping on and off as he tried to eat a little bit and kept on drinking. He kept on thinking about Pam and how scared she must have been, how she could have died.

He didn’t even want to think about Cameron. God, he hoped they would take care of his psychological damage, but give him some warmth too. Thoughts of Franklin crept into his mind and how he’d almost taken a parent away from Franklin’s little girl. Maybe this was divine justice. For what he had tried to do, his own son was now suffering the consequences.

Evening was slowly setting in and Burrows still hadn’t returned. Alex did not want to sit in the dark again and he was angry that he hadn’t thought of asking for a light. On the other hand, Burrows probably would never have given him fire to light it no matter how bad he was at this.

When it was almost too dark to see, the door flew open and Burrows stood in the opening. Pale light from the moon outlined his massive physique and for a moment neither of them moved. Alex found he even braced himself for another attack even though his brain tried to tell him not to be afraid.

“There’s trouble,” Burrows stated. His voice sounded oddly vulnerable and rough at the same time. As if he was trying to man up, but was having a hard time doing so. He entered, closed the door and started to lighten up the cabin with candles. It was so mundane and homely; it was close to being absurd.

Alex didn’t ask what kind of trouble there was. He was fairly certain he would get an explanation soon enough. When there was enough light in the cabin, Burrows started to use the boiler, but after a few seconds he just picked it up and threw it against the wall next to the door. Alex sat stiffly, having seen that form of rage before. He couldn’t believe he had been so wrong about the man, but still... When Burrows turned, Alex braced for impact.

“I’m sorry. I... erm... have a temper.”

Alex bit his tongue when he felt the urge to inform Burrows that he already knew.

Burrows sat down, elbow leaning on the table, head resting in his hand. “Michael got jumped today. They stabbed him. It wasn’t bad, but-”

Alex let out a breath. He was okay for now. He hated it that he was so easily rattled nowadays. He wanted one of his pills, but clamped down on the desire. Scofield was wounded? That didn’t sound good. “Will it be a problem for him to get Whistler out on time?”

Burrows nodded and returned Alex’s stare. “Bellick met me outside the prison. Michael was asleep at the time, or so he says. I have no way of telling if I got the truth, but I’ve got no other choice. Then I got to the hotel and that... that…” A fist banged the table, Burrows was frustrated and angry. So far so good though because he had kept his promise not to hurt Alex anymore.

“What happened, Burrows?” He asked now. He didn’t want to care, but somehow he felt a need to know.

“She was there. The woman the company sent. This Susan. She wanted to know where I’d been and what I was doing. She’s getting suspicious of me and I was away the entire night.”

Alex closed his eyes for a moment then looked at Burrows again. The man had been right. He needed help if only to have somebody around to tell him how to cover his tracks and tie up basic loose ends.

“What did you tell her?” Alex hoped Burrows had been a little clever there.

Burrows smiled ruefully. “That I was scratching an itch and found a willing woman. She offered to take the woman’s place. I declined.”

Alex inclined his head. It wasn’t the best solution, but it was something; however… “You’re going to have to show it if you want her to believe that story for long.” Alex said.

Burrows rubbed his palms on his trousers, showing how nervous he was. He didn’t look at Alex as he stood up and retrieved the boiler. Alex hoped it still worked.

“I know that I have to come with proof. I just have no idea what. A hickey and some scratches on my neck?”

Alex puffed out a laugh. Yes, the man needed help.

“From what you’ve told me she isn’t stupid. She’ll know that you’re hiding something. You’re a bad liar.”

Burrows smiled a little at that and turned his head towards Alex. “Right now I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, Mahone.”

Alex glanced at his ropes and Burrows took the hint. Somehow, he had gotten the boiler working even though he had slammed it against the wall. Burrows must have gotten an extra sturdy one going on past experiences. “It’s a good thing, Burrows, but in this situation it won’t be an asset. That means you need a cover that will make you highly uncomfortable.”

Burrows had cut the ropes. Alex used his legs a bit and rubbed his wrist when Burrows stretched out his hand to help him up. “Come on, I’ll help you up and *cook* you something warm and you can tell me your idea.”

Alex took the offered hand and was pulled to his feet as if he was a feather, straining his aching body. The man’s strength was incredible. He’d probably spent his days doing push-ups in prison. Alex was off balance and nearly fell, but Burrows kept him from falling and helped him to a chair near the table.

Alex let out a small groan of discomfort, but got no comment. “You won’t like my idea; then again, I can’t say I care much for your cooking.”

Burrows looked at him and quirked an eyebrow. “You going prissy on me, Mahone? This isn’t the Hilton.”

Alex barked out a laugh and returned the stare. “No it isn’t, but I’m fairly sure you can do better than this, Burrows,” Alex said and he knew Burrows could hear the challenge in his tone of voice. After a few seconds, a slow smile broke out on Burrow’s face.

“Maybe I could. What do you want?” Burrows had gotten the underlying hint. That was good. Alex took a moment and felt a part of himself flooding back. He’d been given a chance and even though Burrows was no FBI agent, he might just be a potential partner to help him do what needed to be done.

“I’ll help you with your plan to break out Michael and get you out of Panama, but...” Alex took a deep breath then continued “if you want me to help we’re partners, equals. I get good food, I’m no longer a prisoner and… you will help *me* get revenge on the bastards who killed my wife.” He voice broke a little and he cursed himself for letting it happen, but he let it go.

Burrows didn’t answer straight away. He opened his mouth a little, sucking his lower lip into his mouth as if he was deep in thought. Then he nodded and held out his hand. “All right; partners, but you will stay in the cabin or we’ll have more shit to clean up.” They shook hands and Burrows added “But if you fuck me over, Mahone, I will find you and I will kill you.”

Alex smiled. “I’m counting on it, Burrows.” They let go of each other’s hands and Burrows went back to whatever he was doing to get them some food.

Then, out of the blue, Burrows said gruffly, “call me Lincoln or Linc. Burrows reminds me too much of my old man.”