“So what was this idea of yours to get me uncomfortable and Susan a firm believer?” Burrows, *Lincoln*, it wasn’t going to be easy to switch from last to first name, said as he put two plates in front of them. Some bread, cheese and hot noodles adorned the white plastic. Two cans of beers had already been opened. The cheap Mexican kind, but Alex didn’t mind.
“Alright, Susan doesn’t really buy it that you’re scratching an itch. You’re not acting the part and wouldn’t be able to make it stick and make it believable unless…” Alex took a sip of his beer. He anticipated somewhat of an explosion. He continued. “You’re having a liaison, but not the kind she’s expecting. Something you wouldn’t want anyone to know about because it would radically change any image they have of you.”
Bur- Lincoln frowned; Alex knew the man didn’t get it yet so he clarified somewhat crudely. “When you see her again you’ll have a discreet, but large hickey, some bite marks or something on your chest. You’ll sit down with some discomfort as if you’d just had a cock up your ass.” Alex took a bite of his noodles.
The dime dropped, the light bulb went on and the elephants went on a stampede. Lincoln got quite red in the face and hissed, “I’m not going to be a fag and a fucked one at that!”
Alex took another sip of his beer. “I told you you wouldn’t like it. The stigma that is attached to the role as a bottom upsets you and you’d be embarrassed just as you are now. It would be believable that you wouldn’t want anyone to know, especially Susan. As well as that, you really are *seeing* a man. Aside from us screwing around, it’s closer to the truth than anything else. With the way you’re acting, she’ll believe it.”
Lincoln had stopped eating and gripped the table hard. His Adam’s apple was bobbing with several furious swallows. “There has to be another way.”
Alex shook his head. “From what you’ve told me this woman is highly sexual. She’ll enjoy seeing you squirm and she’ll believe you need sex after being on death row for so long. She will also need placating as to why you didn’t take her up on her offer to sleep with her. You have to convince her in some way that it’s not her, but you. Keep in mind it’s going to be an act to help your brother. Who cares what she thinks she knows or what anybody else thinks for that matter. It’s not like you actually have to do it. ”
Lincoln leaned forward, growling. “And how I am supposed to find a woman outside of town to give me a hickey?! No way that I can get one in town without the danger of her noticing.”
Alex stopped at that, but then continued to put a forkful of noodles into his mouth. He chewed and swallowed. “You can ask your friend Sucre or I’ll do it. That would probably be better for the story. You wouldn’t have to lie that a man gave it to you.” Burrows stared and didn’t say anything, so Alex urged him into action. “Come on, your noodles are getting cold.”
Lincoln began eating slowly, his eyes moving from Alex’s face to his plate. He didn’t speak, but ate and Alex couldn’t help but squelch some laughter at the picture the man made. Lincoln Burrows had been in prison a lot. In prison, sexual experiences of the male kind weren’t that strange. Alex wondered if Lincoln really was angry at having to portray being queer or because he’d been called out on previous experiences. It was intriguing.
When they were almost done, Lincoln decided to join Alex’s train of thought. “Okay, so I throw Susan off. What else is the course of action?” he said while he obviously tried to keep his jaw from locking up.
Alex wanted to answer, but the banging in his head wouldn’t stop. It had started just after his suggestion and only got worse. Alex grabbed his beer and nursed it as he willed his brain to work at full capacity. It was no use, but at least he had some of his wits left. He hoped they remained.
Lincoln must have seen his discomfort because he reached inside a pocket and took out a small strip of pills. “I’m sorry, I forgot. You should have asked.”
Alex barked out a laugh that sounded cynical to his own ears and took an offered pill. He didn’t want to be this weak, but what choice did he have?
Lincoln took the rest of the pills again and put them away. Smart man. Not wanting to talk about his drug habit, Alex answered Lincoln’s previous question with haste. “You need to buy us more time. Tell her it can’t be done in a week. Tell her…tell her about Michael.”
Lincoln looked away, jaw set and showing his hatred towards something. Alex suspected it was this Susan. “I already told her Michael was stabbed. She didn’t really care about it beyond what it could do to her timeframe.”
Alex leaned forward. “It should be clear to a woman of some intelligence that there is a problem with said schedule if the mastermind is sick and laid up. Make it sound a little bit worse than it might be, but just a little. We don’t know if she’s in contact with this Whistler.”
Lincoln’s eyes found Alex’s again. “You think Whistler is working for her?”
Alex shrugged as he sat back against the chair again. “Maybe; at this point, everything is possible. You have to take it all into account before making a move. Just remind her that you will get Whistler out because you want your son back. Try to come across a little bit desperate.”
Lincoln snorted at that. “Trust me; I am pretty desperate... Want me to play up the disgust I feel? That I’m going for cock because I want to be punished?”
Alex searched Lincoln’s face for clues. He was saying one thing, but really meant another. Or so he thought.
Alex needed to keep a clear head, but so did Lincoln.
Both of them were getting frazzled no matter how much beer they drank or pills Alex took. Maybe they were sliding down faster because of it.
“No, don’t do anything like that. Just be real. You don’t want to be punished. You want to punish, lash out, because you have been punished for three years. I get that, Lincoln, but this is not the time.”
Lincoln sat still for a few seconds and then nodded. He got up to get another beer and offered one to Alex who declined. It numbed the senses. The pill helped to make the rough edges disappear and he started to feel a bit mellower. The alcohol had helped too much already. One bottle was enough.
“Okay, say I get more time. What else can we do?” Lincoln asked as he opened the bottle still standing near the edge of the table.
Alex took a moment to think. He hadn’t put everything down yet, so he tried to think what Scofield would do.
“I’m not a planner, Lincoln. Your brother is the specialist in that area. I can, however, map out possibilities on the outside. Determine law enforcement and routes to take. I can also work on possible calamities and a search and rescue for your son.”
He actually started to feel bad for the kid. If he really was innocent, the boy been dealt a bad hand.
It started to rain outside the cabin. It sounded loud, almost as if they were in the middle of it. The irrational happiness of not being alone in this cabin, happiness which was nothing more than a few candles and his pills reared its ugly head. He’d started out resenting the feeling the drugs gave him. Now he just hated it.
Lincoln finally moved again. He banged the door with his fist, though softly by his standards and sat down. His head bowed and the beer bottle rested on his knee.
“Do you think I’m going to be able to get my boy out?” He said it softly, probably afraid of the answer.
Alex didn’t know what to say, so he tried the truth. “I wish I could tell you yes, but I can’t. We know they easily kill women. I’m afraid they’ll have no qualms about children either.” It tasted sour in his mouth, those words. He thought of Cameron and a graveyard. To lose a child… these people knew how to play on horror.
Lincoln dragged a hand across his face and brought it up again, over his scalp finally resting on the back of neck. He still didn’t look at Alex. “He has a life ahead of him. Or at least he would have had if he didn’t have such a fuck-up for an old-man. It’s my fault he’s in this situation. It’s my fault Michael’s in it too.”
It was ironic that those words could apply to Alex as well. Weren’t they a pair of the world’s greatest fathers?
“We all make mistakes, Burrows, and your brother made his own.”
Lincoln looked up. A small crooked smile crept across his face. “Is it hard to get used to my name, Mahone?”
Alex realized his mistake and cringed. “Old habits die hard. I’ll try for Lincoln again if you can get rid of the Mahone,” Alex countered. No way in hell that Lincoln Burrows would be comfortable with calling him Alex.
However, he inclined his head, narrowed his eyes and said; “all right, we’ll see who’s the bigger man, Alex.”
Alex felt a smile threatening as well. It was bitter sitting here with this man, thinking about their children. The people they could still protect.
“Is the offer for that beer still valid?” Alex asked.
Lincoln didn’t answer, but he got up. He grabbed the last one and for a moment, Alex thought he was going to throw it. Lincoln didn’t, thank God, because Alex wasn’t sure he would be able to catch it with his fucked up body.
Lincoln opened the bottle first and then gave it to Alex, holding it a few seconds longer as he looked at something that must have shown on Alex’s face.
“I’ll bring you paper and pens tomorrow. Draw up some lists of what you need. Maybe start to detail a back-up plan for Michael,” Lincoln said as he sat down.
Alex nodded in agreement, but had to ask. “List for the cause?” He voice took on a husky sound. Maybe he truly shouldn’t have taken that second beer.
Lincoln kept staring at him. Alex wondered which one of them was trying harder to get where the other one was coming from. “And for you. Write down what you need. For yourself, I mean. Just don’t ask for chocolates and flowers.” Lincoln Burrows rumbled, a soft smile still playing around his lips.
“Mr. Burrows, are you attempting to joke around with your new sexual status?” Alex asked as one of the candles died out and left a burnt up smell.
“Fuck you, Mahone.” Lincoln shot out, although the corner of his mouth quivered showing he truly wasn’t a bigot.
Alex was sure his instincts were right; the man had some experience in the male department, scratching an itch in prison quite probably; outside, less than probable.
“I think that would be Alex, Lincoln, and the ploy is that you’re the fucked one,” Alex responded with velvet on his tongue.
Lincoln got up quite abruptly at that and left the cabin. Alex thought for a moment he had gone too far. Not that he cared, much, but he needed the other man. Had he read the permission for teasing the wrong way?
He heard a car door slam twice before the door opened again. Lincoln came in with an arm full of… stuff and continued their talk as if he had never left.
“Over my dead body; just as I’m not going to sleep on the fucking chair again.” He dumped what he had brought on the floor near Alex’s makeshift ‘bed’ and started to sort it out.
“You’ve brought pillows?” The situation had gotten otherworldly again, although it never really had been anything less.
“Yeah, two of them, more blankets and these mats or whatever you call them. Couldn’t get a proper mattress but they might be enough.”
Lincoln worked swiftly and before Alex could say another word, his corner had transformed somewhat. He now had a camping mat, three blankets and a pillow. It actually started to look like a real bed. Burrows repeated the same process, presumably for himself, in a corner on the other side of the cabin. Alex counted two blankets, instead of three.
“Why are you doing this? You don’t have to stay here.” Alex asked.
Lincoln stopped, back to Alex, hands on his upper legs as he knelt before his bed. He could hear the sound of their breathing mixing with rain outside. There was nothing else that could make a sound; just the forest and them. It made him aware once again that it was night.
“I’m doing this because I have to.” Lincoln said softly. “I have to.”
In a strange way, it explained everything because Alex understood it very well.
They stayed exactly where they were for a few more minutes and then Alex finished his beer. Lincoln left his corner and walked to the toilet. He kept the door open as he relieved himself. “There’s toothpaste in the bag. Help yourself.”
Brushing his teeth was the highlight of Alex’s day.
Author's Chapter Notes:
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