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After calming himself and willing his ‘problem’ down, Alex pushed the button on the electric boiler again. It had boiled before but he’d been so busy with the Goddamned chair… he kicked the wood to the side of the wall and started to pin the map on the broad panel. It was his only way to stay reasonably sane. It would distract him from maudlin thoughts and give him a purpose. After that, he would kill the people who’d taken Pam and Lincoln Burrows was going to help him whether he wanted to or not. Fuck his prison attitude. Alex hadn’t been in Sona that long.

He found a little peace as time passed. The map was only the beginning. He started to compile lists of information they needed, what they knew and material Lincoln would have to obtain.

He soon decided that they needed another escape route including a way to throw the military off. It made him think of the easiest options; a jeep perhaps or a truck. They’d have to give it a quick paintjob as it would be used to deter the guards for as long as possible. They’d leave it in a ditch somewhere on the night of the escape to throw them off guard. It was simple, but it could very well give them some time.

Scofield had come up with a boat to keep them off the army’s radar during the manhunt that would follow their escape, but after that, the plan was pretty murky.

Somewhere along the line Alex surmised that the *mastermind* would want closure on Sara’s death. Hell, he might even want revenge. Alex could understand that sentiment. As long as he didn’t hamper Alex’s own hunt.

During his work he’d forgotten the boiler again, but when he heard the car outside start and drive away he was reminded once more of the tenuous situation he was in. He wondered if Lincoln would show up again today. He turned, switched on the boiler for a third time and waited for it to do its work. He absentmindedly mixed the instant coffee with the hot water and brought the vicious brew to his lips.

No matter what he thought of Lincoln’s goading, the phone might not have been a trick. He had to concede that maybe Burrows had meant well this time. It was a pre-paid one, new. It would serve as a good warning system if something should go wrong on either side of their deal. He’d overreacted, probably. It didn’t change the color of the crap they were in though.

Pouring another cup of coffee, he went back to work and changed the wall into a collage of notes, maps and markings.
~~~~~~

When it got dark, he picked up one of the bags that Lincoln had left. He’d noticed candles and matches when Lincoln brought the supplies yesterday. No matter what the man had said, he was showing quite a lot of trust. Whether it was forced or not, Alex wondered if Lincoln Burrows was either incredibly dimwitted, desperate or an accidental genius when it came to manipulation. He suspected it was a little bit of at least two of those.
He’d lit the candles and surveyed his wall again when he heard the familiar engine of the car purr in the distance. For a fleeting moment, he felt like a housewife waiting for her husband to come home. It brought his thoughts back to Pam.

Five minutes later, Lincoln stood in the door opening. Alex had never closed the door when Lincoln had left nor had he heard him approach the cabin.

They stared at each other and then Lincoln broke their eye contact speaking low and soft. “You wanted good food. That’s why I brought the axe.”

Alex wasn’t sure what he meant, but before he could ask, Lincoln continued to talk as he put another bag on the table, hardly even looking at Alex or the wall. “Just a small campfire. I don’t think it can hurt, so far away from the city. If anyone should see, they’d already have noticed the light from the shack anyway.” He shot a glance at the broken chair and added, “The chair’s a start.”

Alex’s words rasped in his throat. “Yes it is.”

Lincoln nodded, grabbed the axe and went outside. Alex stared at the chopped up chair and smiled. It would have been poetic if Alex didn’t know better. He picked up all the pieces, not caring if he got splinters in his hands. The music of Lincoln Burrows swinging the axe with methodical rhythm accompanied him and was somehow comforting.

Alex didn’t want to question why he’d gone from hunting somebody who he’d viewed as nothing more than a petty crook to having an irrational fear of the man to actually being comfortable in his presence. Alex’s last couple of weeks had been a rollercoaster drop from the good life into Hell. He hoped he wouldn’t drop any further, if that was even possible.

When he’d gathered the wood he went outside where Lincoln was chopping the last bits in the glow of the cabin’s candle light. It was dangerous, but Alex didn’t say a word. If Lincoln wanted to do this, well, he was an adult and saner than Alex was. Alex kept an eye on him just the same, dumping the broken chair a few steps further away.
“Mind getting me a beer?” Lincoln asked as he wiped his forehead. It was quite a warm day; even the evening hadn’t tempered the air.

Alex looked from the cabin to Lincoln’s car. “You’ve brought some?”

Lincoln pointed halfheartedly to the car, confirming what Alex already thought. That meant he could make a run for it, but Lincoln had an axe and the car keys. Alex opened the doors, finding two six-packs on the backseat.

He heard Lincoln throwing something on the floor, presumably the axe, and take a few steps. Leaves and dry twigs cracked beneath his shoes. Come to think of it, they probably did the same when Alex walked on them but Alex hadn’t listened like this before.

He turned around, leaned against the car and watched his…*partner*. Lincoln crouched on one knee, working swiftly and precisely. He had the wood in place within minutes, and a crackling fire started to devour the evidence of Alex’s frustrations. Lincoln also made some sort of contraption, possibly to lay food on. Alex wasn’t sure.

It definitely seemed as if Lincoln done this before. Maybe he had taken his brother into the woods for little trips? Or perhaps his son?

“You’ve brought food? Sturdy enough for the fire?” Alex asked as he walked up to Lincoln who looked up at him. Alex handed him a beer and kept one himself.

Lincoln took it, but remained in the position he was in, one knee on the ground, near the blaze. The heat of the fire was almost too much to bear, but Alex stood his ground as Lincoln stared at him. Finally, the man opened his beer, threw the cap in the flames and took a large gulp.

“Yeah, I’ve brought food.” He motioned to the cabin. “The bag on the table.”

Alex followed his gaze. The heat of the campfire made him a bit drowsy and the work of the day combined with his healing body made him aware of just how tired he was.
Nevertheless, he got the bag, opened it and found four packages wrapped in foil. He glanced at Lincoln who had sat on the ground. The corner of his mouth was turning upward, but ever so slightly. “Jacket potatoes with garlic and a bit of rabbit food.” Alex raised his eyebrow and went back to Lincoln while rummaging in the bag. It contained a small plate with sausages, some sticks to put food on and berries of some kind. Well Lincoln had done his best.

Lincoln tapped his leg with his beer bottle. “Sit down, man. I’m hungry.”

Alex snorted and gave the plate with the sausages on to Lincoln. He drank quietly, listening to the crackling fire, the sounds of night in the jungle and Lincoln’s rustling and breathing.

Big hands worked the food expertly, turning the meat in the searing flames. It was almost... homey, in a twisted sense of the word, and thoughts of home weren’t good at all.

“You’ve been working on the wall.” The question left Lincoln’s mouth as a statement.

Alex inclined his head and nodded in thought. “Yes, I assumed it would be best to use my time wisely.” Alex stared into the fire.

Lincoln continued to focus on the meat, the delicious smell drifting towards Alex’s nose. He really was hungry.
Lincoln pulled out two sausages on a stick and gave one to Alex, taking out a small tube of some kind of sauce from the bottom of the bag. Alex had missed that one. Not that he had time to worry about it, because Lincoln dumped some of it on Alex’s sausage without asking.

“Any ideas or plans that could help us? Do we have time work out both your’s and Michael’s plans?”

Alex took a bite out of the steaming hot meat. He closed his eyes for a moment, just enjoying the wonderful feeling of something hot and hearty. How strange that a few seconds of contentment were so easily enjoyed when you really had nothing to be content about.

“Yes we have some time. I need you to start looking for something like a jeep or truck. Wheels the army would use around here. Take a look around Sona and find paint in town so we can give our ride the right color. I want you to get Sucre involved with the plan as well. He has to be right on the spot when Susan lets you know where your son is. Let him scout out and report to us while we’re breaking out your brother and Whistler from Sona.”

Lincoln whistled. “Tall order.” Lincoln rumbled.

Alex smiled and lifted his beer to confirm. “It’s just for starters. I want electricity maps from around the prison. I want a safer solution than the generator bit Michael came up with, including the problem with cutting power in the first place. Not to mention what we’re going to do after we’ve sailed away into the sunset on that boat. I want both Whistler and your son out. Susan isn’t getting squat.” Alex took a sip of his beer and shifted his eyes from the fire to Lincoln’s face. It took a moment to adjust his eyes.

Lincoln looked amused. “You’ve had quite a productive day.” He looked down, avoiding Alex’s stare, but kept his lips curved in a smile that looked painful to keep up. “You’re a smart man, Alex. Even in conditions like this.”

Was that a compliment? It was out of place. “Are you trying to mellow me down for something, Lincoln?” he sounded rough. The thought ‘your bunk or mine’ popped into his head, but Alex knew it was a bad joke.

The smile left Lincoln’s face as if he’d heard anyway and he shot Alex a sideways glance. “Do you think we can do and prepare all of that in a few days?”

Alex narrowed his eyes and let go again. The palm of his hand was moist. Sweat maybe, or it could be the midnight air. “We have more than a few days. Susan gave us an extra week. We should be able to do it in the nine days we’ve got, yes.”

Lincoln shook his head, his eyes leaving Alex’s face, and he sighed. Lincoln swiped his hand over his face, his head and ended on his neck. It was some elaborate ritual maybe. How to say something the other person doesn’t want to hear. Alex suspected Lincoln was an expert.

Lincoln’s eyes searched out Alex’s again. It was right there, the message Alex didn’t want to hear, but didn’t know yet. He braced himself.

“I tried to get more pills today,” Lincoln started and Alex’s heart started racing. Trouble. Was he seen? “When I was near the drugstore I saw this guy who wasn’t local. I think he was a fed or something.”

Alex gritted his teeth. Sullins. He must have put two and two together. “Were you seen?” he asked.

Lincoln shook his head, “I don’t think so. I don’t know why they were there, but... from what I can gather the first time I went there, these pills aren’t something they hand out much. Even below the counter.”

So that’s why Lincoln got them so easily; his experience as a crook paid off. “You can’t go back. They will monitor everything.” Alex stated without emotion, although a storm was raging inside.

“I know, but Alex… that was the only place that had a few in storage. Even if I hit the streets, I have no connections, it will take time and-” Lincoln sounded truly apologetic.

Alex interrupted him. “We don’t have that time and you asking around will stir up a hornets’ nest. You aren’t connected to me yet, but the FBI, or Susan, will realize right away who you’re peddling for.”

Lincoln sighed. “You know what that means don’t you?”

Alex swallowed, trying to calm his racing heart. “We only have a few days for the plan, because I have to go cold turkey.” He held Lincoln’s eyes and thought he saw a flash of compassion there.

“I’ll help you as much as I can, but if I have to leave, which is going to happen-” Lincoln left the rest unsaid.
Alex knew what he was going to say anyway. No junkie was strong enough alone and Alex couldn’t be trusted in withdrawal. He’d blow everything out of the water if he was allowed to roam free. He looked into the fire. The chair was nearly burned away, logged down by the wood that Lincoln had chopped.

He was going to have to get a new one.