Chapters: 1 of 3 (approximately)
Disclaimer: Do I bare any semblance to Paul Scheuring? No. As stated on the footnotes of each page at no author should be affiliated with Prison Break. And I don’t break rules.
Categories/Genres: Drama, Angst, Pre-Escape, AU
Warnings: S1 Spoilers, Darkfic, WIP, Sexual Situations, Extreme Language
Prompt: Be With You Forever by NarcissusUnchained at PrisonBreakFic.net
Characters(in order of appearance): Michael, Sara, Fernando Sucre, Officer Stolte, John Abruzzi, Lincoln, LJ, T-Bag, Charles Westmoreland, Veronica
Summary: “Days string into nights, breaths weigh on your shoulders and twenty-four hours have never seemed this long. You haven’t seen the sky in what appears to be forever.” Written for NarcissusUnchained. Chapter one of three (approximately). Please read and review.
Inspiration: I Feel Bad and Words I Couldn’t Say by Rascal Flatts
(A/N): Well, I hope NarcissusUnchained is okay with this. I loved the challenge, by the way. It made me think. I wasn’t exactly sure what “sniper” you were talking about, so I took the liberty of guessing it was the one that was trying to kill Michael during episode 1.07 “Riots, Drills, and The Devil Part Two” and that you wanted it to be an alternate kind of thing. In case it wasn’t, I’m just going to leave the scene out, except for in flashbacks. I hope you don’t mind.
(A/N 2): The thing about the dolphins in Boquerón is true. Remember, I’m Puerto Rican.
You stare at his more than numb body for the remainder of the time you have left with him (one hour, five minutes, fifty seconds, and fifteen milliseconds). Tear after tear cascades down your cheeks, causing your breathing to become irregular and your heart to beat rapidly.
You would like to call this scene a minor freak-out.
Scratch that, minor has nothing to do with this. Colossal seems more like it.
A scene doesn’t even begin to describe this horrific situation.
This is more than a scene could ever offer anybody.
Scene: n. An embarrassing or disconcerting public display of emotion.
That rules out any kind of scene this situation could possibly be. You are not embarrassed at all.
Freak-out: n. An outburst of emotion or agitated behavior.
Okay, so the dictionary may figure this as a freak-out, but you establish it as a semi-freak-out.
There are circles of bloodstains on the front of his shirt, on the right side of his chest. A laceration on his neck is crusted with dried blood and you sniffle in fear at the sight of it. He was never able to tell you what happened.
A knot forms in your throat, but you don’t bother swallowing past it. After all, you’d rather not choke on any more tears than you already have.
But, you find yourself doing just that as your knee buckles and you hit the floor, sobbing loudly and holding his limp hand in your own. You rest your forehead against the cool metal of the cot in the sick bay.
This is exactly what you were trying to avoid with all your timed plans and schedules. You were avoiding the chair, you were avoiding the fear, and you were avoiding the heartbreak.
But you were also avoiding another very crucial thing.
Emptiness you knew you would feel once he was gone. And you figure out all your plans weren’t worth it. It wasn’t worth it for him to fight for his freedom and it definitely wasn’t worth it to fight for his life.
And it definitely wasn’t worth the void you’re feeling right now.
You feel a tap on your shoulder and you basically jump out of your skin. You shake your head, not ready to leave just yet. One hour, five minutes, fifty seconds, and fifteen milliseconds couldn’t have flown out the window so quickly.
“Not yet,” you say hoarsely, talking past the reforming knot in your throat. “Not yet.” This time a sob escapes with your words and you rest your head against the cool metal once more. “Not yet,” one last time.
“Michael,” the voice says softly. “You have to let him go.” You shake your head.
“You wouldn’t know,” you accuse. “You don't know anything about this!” The tone in your voice is cold and you can feel it sending shivers up your spine.
“Michael,” the voice sounds teary now, as if hurt by your allegations.
“You can’t rip this away from me, Dr. Tancredi.” The hand that was once rubbing your back stops in mid-motion. However, the rubbing commences almost immediately, the doctor trying to enshroud her mistake.
“Michael, he is gone.”
A minute later, you reply, “He isn’t. He’s not…” A ragged breath is inhaled into your lungs and you sob out, “He can’t be.”
Days string into nights, breaths weigh on your shoulders and twenty-four hours have never seemed this long. You haven’t seen the sky in what appears to be forever.
You have been examining the same spot of the bunk above you for the last twenty minutes; at least that’s what your counting has summed up to. This spot just so happens to be a faded blemish on the bottom of your cellmate’s “mattress”(if a mattress is what you like to be considered as an extended body pillow). You would have noticed it long ago had you not been too preoccupied to ignore it.
A sudden movement in the corner of your eyes causes you to detract your attentiveness from the blemish and turn your head for the slightest second. Your cellmate’s cloth-clad legs have just been hung over the edge of the bunk.
Counting commences immediately.
“Michael,” you hear from your right, and you wonder when it was that your bunkmate jumped onto the floor. You guess it’s due to your increased concentration on things that are unimportant.
Ignorance is bliss.
“Michael,” the heavily accented voice tries again. It won’t tear through your façade. “If you’re going to ignore me and stare into space, nod your head.”
Reverse psychology doesn’t help in this situation. If you do as he says, your bunkmate will know you are actually listening to him and that will not help you one ounce. So, you continue examining the underside of the mattress.
“Alright, just listen.” Your cellmate inhales deeply before continuing. “I know you made this plan you had going just to break your brother out of jail. And I get that you don’t wanna go through with the escape now that your brother has already kicked the can. I understand that, but I know the others don’t.”
This actually sways your attention and you finally turn toward your cellmate, not staring at his face, but past his head at the wall. This is the closest you have gotten to contact with this man for the first time in almost three weeks.
You can tell he is slightly excited.
“Look, I’m fine with not breaking out. I just have sixteen months until I can leave this shit-hole and I’d rather not serve my entire sentence plus ten years. I know I have Maricruz waiting for me to get out, but we both knew what we were getting into. But Abruzzi and T-Bag have nothing left to lose; they have to spend the rest of their lives in prison. I’m just warning you that they haven’t attempted to kill you because they’re letting you get over Lincoln.”
“Well, that just makes me feel much better,” you add mordantly to his monologue. You avert your attention to the mattress once more.
Sighing, he resumes, “Just be careful, Fish.” And with that, you hear the buzzer, letting all the inmates out to the yard. The gate to your cell slides open and your cellmate throws another look at you while you continue to examine the taints of the mattress above you (you can feel his insightful gaze). You don’t bother looking back and you wait patiently for him to exit the cell.
Once he does, you tap the tips of your fingers against your chest, contemplating your next move. You have to sit up and get out of the position you have been in all day. So you do just that, unintentionally hitting the top of your head on the bars above you. You rub the top of your skull, easing the pain away before thinking further about your situation.
A few stragglers continue to walk by your cell, preventing you from any plan you might have had. Rocking yourself back and forth, you regain some of the composure you lost barely three weeks ago and stand up. Your legs wobble under the weight of your body, the weight that has decreased extremely.
Inhaling shakily, you shut your eyes, walking toward the wall and leaning your forehead against the cool brick, something that startles the heat of your body.
You can feel your anxiousness to the tips of your eight toes.
The shot rings through the entire room, bouncing off his chest, to the walls and to your chest. His eyes are closed, found in mid-blink, and you wonder how the hell you’re kneeling on the floor next to him.
You can’t distinguish the voice that is trying to communicate something to you as you reach toward him, your hands finding the three, four, five holes in him. You watch his chest, as you realize the worst.
Blood covers your hands and you look down at them, the sanguine fluid scaring the shit out of you (you have always been queasy around blood).
His face is extremely peaceful for someone who had, mere seconds ago, been searing with anger.
Convicts are walking all around you, being escorted by correctional officers to their cells, but you are deaf to the raucous (shuffling feet, shouts and everything in between). You find yourself gulping for air as you contain the sobs that are racking your body, causing you to suffer more than you should be.
You know you’ll never make it out of this alive.
Your fist contacts the wall and you feel your knuckles pop immediately, sending a twinge of pain through your arm. However, you know the pain is keeping you alive, and you try to ignore it. Life is incomparable to death.
Just a few more times, you think, trying to knock sense into your actions. But a few more times pass and you are left with the inexplicable void once again. The tangibility of brick against skin is unsurpassable and your fists continue to require the feeling.
Blood is now running down both of your arms, fifteen minutes into the journey. Grunts are unrecognizable; tears are overloading, threatening to spill. No contrast between pain and sorrow is perceptible and the sun isn’t shining on your side of the yard any longer.
Your eyelids fly open. It takes forever to adjust your eyes to the dreary light in the room. Feeling like you haven’t seen the world in centuries, you examine your surroundings, finding yourself in the last place you want to be.
A white coat comes into view and you stare at it warily, uncertain of what is to come. Suddenly the coat flourishes around a body and the person’s face comes into view. Breathing shallowly, you attempt to keep yourself from vomiting on the spot. Too much movement after recently regaining your focus is nerve-racking.
“You’re awake.” Way to state the obvious, you wonder sardonically. “It’s been a while.”
Gulping, you try to reply. “What do you mean, ‘a while’?” you say gruffly, your rasping voice the result of disuse.
“You haven’t been conscious for a few days.” Eyes becoming buttons, you stare at her disbelievingly. Then it all comes back to you, the blood, the sorrow, the pain, the realization. Most of all, the inexistent tears.
“Since when?” you ask, unexpectedly, after five silent minutes.
“Um,” she ponders, snapping her gloves in place again. “Friday,” she replies, counting the days on her fingers.
“Yes,” she says immediately, walking over to your bedside. “Your nephew, LJ?” You nod. “He’s tried to see you since, but you were always unconscious. I can’t let him in here, otherwise I would.”
“Huh,” you reply distractedly.
“He really wants you to call him when you’re awake and able to leave. Which is not now,” she adds subtly. Nodding, you look up at her.
“What did you do to me?”
Biting her lip, the doctor contemplates her answer. “Officer Stolte brought you in here and I saw you and I immediately thought you were dead. Then I looked at your hands and saw it was just that, but you were completely unresponsive. I told the officer to bring you to my station and I cleaned you up, then stitched your knuckles.” She pauses for a second, making sure not to look at you for the next half. “After a while, when you didn’t wake up, I had a feeling you did whatever you did on purpose, like…” she trails off, suddenly embarrassed. “I don’t know. It doesn’t matter.”
“It does,” you press on. “Like what?” you ask softly, already knowing in your mind what she is going to say. You know it’s true. However, if you or someone else says it out loud it makes it permanent. That is the last thing you would like.
Sighing, she continues, “Like you were, uh,” turning her head to look at you this time. “Like you were trying to kill yourself.” Tears shine in her eyes, but you ignore them. The hazel color of them makes you want to melt and you bite your tongue to keep yourself from saying something stupid.
“What would make you think that?” you ask daintily, your voice wavering and not regaining any strength.
“That’s what you were trying to do, wasn’t it?” she whispers tearfully. “I can’t believe you would try to do that to yourself, Michael.”
“I never said—”
“—But it’s easy to tell by the way you are so openly denying it!” You watch her silently, as her anger simmers and a lone tear leaks out the corner of her eyes. You ache to reach out to her and wipe the tears away.
“What would it matter to you if I killed myself anyway?” you yell, experiencing the most curvy mood swing in the history of mood swings. You sit up, accidentally yanking on the IV tube present in your arm. “I should be nothing more than a patient to you!”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about,” she whispers, moving away from your bed. “Don’t agitate yourself, Michael.”
“I should not have to take you accusing me of something I didn’t do,” you say firmly, the tone in your voice likely to freeze anyone’s insides, including your own.
“I’m accusing you because I know what it’s like!” She finally matches your tone. “You think I don’t know what it’s like to lose a family member? My mother died when I was ten years old. You would never begin to understand the void I felt when I was left with my dad!” she spits with venom.
“I’ll never understand?” you ask incredulously. “I lost my mother around that age too. I was left with my brother, who cared for me until I left home. Even after that he took care of me when he had to. What crime is it to want to help the only family member you have left?”
“It’s not. But you don’t have to kill yourself to do it, Michael.”
“No, but I had to rob a bank and work my way around the court system to save him from the inside. There was no other way but in, and if you understood that, you would understand how empty it feels to be in a prison, without your brother, and try to survive the remainder of your jail time. Especially when your sole purpose for being here was to break your brother out of said prison.” Her eyes widen as you confess your plan and you heave out a breath before falling onto your back. Tears sting your eyes and you feel exhausted. Sniffling, you whimper, “I can’t live without him being around, Doctor Tancredi.”
The silence in the room resonates throughout the facility as tears finally leak out the corner of your eyes, the first tears in centuries. Your breath is ragged, and all you can think of doing is pulling the tubes out of your veins and returning to your cell.
“You know what you said earlier?” You nod, not exactly sure what she is talking about, but knowing all along. “About my feelings for you? You don’t know what you are talking about. You are just a patient to me. Just thought you should know.”
You hear her shuffles as she gathers her belongings and you wonder if she’s been in the sick bay since you were brought in. You pull the sheets on your body up to your chin and sink into the bed.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, Mr. Scofield.”
“You have to let me go back to my cell, Doctor,” you find yourself pleading the next day, near noon.
She shakes her head nonchalantly, so nonchalantly it makes you want to slap sense into her. She replies while handing you two painkillers and a small cup of water, “You have a fever. I can’t let you go and possibly spread the germs.”
Swallowing, you replace the cup into her hand and mimic her headshakes. Still shaking your head, you state, “It’s just a low fever. Nothing too bad.”
“I can’t let you go, Mr. Scofield. Not today.” You observe her as she tosses your used cup into the trash bin by the sink gently. Gulping, you roll your eyes to the ceiling and stare at its whiteness only to feel your world turn gray.
You revert your gaze to her back as a new idea strikes you. “I don’t think the guards will approve of that.”
You know you’ve made your point when she stops rinsing her hands. However, she tries to cover up her mistake by turning her attention towards the sink once more.
“I don’t think they’ll care,” she says in that nonchalant voice again and you grunt. Rubbing your hand down the front of your face, you fall back, onto the cot again.
“We’ll just see about that,” you retort absently, staring out the smoked window as a figure appears in front of it. You focus on the doorknob turning too slowly for your state of mind.
The officer steps into the room, hat in one hand, doorknob in the other. He clears his throat to gain the attention of the doctor that is still washing her hands. She turns her head to her left and raises her eyebrows.
“Warden Pope instructed me to take Scofield back to his quarters,” he says boldly, finally entering the room, the door slamming behind him.
She shakes her head once more, dropping her hands to her side as she turns in a ninety degree angle to face the guard. “You can’t. He still has a fever.”
“Doctor Tancredi, you know it doesn’t matter if he has a fever. I still have to take him to his cell.”
“Officer Stolte, you know I can’t let a prisoner back to his cell if he’s able to spread germs.”
“Fevers don’t spread germs.”
“Quite to the con—”
“Scofield, let’s go,” the guard barks in your direction. You sit up in surprise, becoming dizzy as a result. “Now!” he yells and you scramble to your feet, accidentally tugging on the tube in your veins. You hastily remove it and walk up to the officer, steadying your gait.
“Michael, go lie—” But the sound the cuffs makes as the officer pulls them out freezes her in mid-sentence. Inhaling deeply, you expose both your wrists to him. You notice the pink blotch on your skin from the ripped-out IV tube and the bandages across both your hands shock you.
The cool metal of the cuffs encircle your thinned wrists and they yank on you as the guard pulls you towards the door. You spin your head around to look back at the doctor and you can’t help but think like a child. I told you so.
“Open on 40!” the guard bellows into your ears as he hastens to unlock your cuffs. The bald, brown head of your cellmate comes into view as he sits up in his bed, a large grin crossing his face. You can’t help but return his smile as you walk into your cell, looking around it as if you’ve never been there before.
“Glad to see you back!” your cellmate says as he jumps to the floor, pounding his fist into your back in an affectionate gesture. You turn around and grin again before collapsing onto your body pillow made into a mattress.
“Yeah,” you say, not sure what to think. “It’s been a while.” You find yourself repeating the doctor’s words from the day before and it puzzles you to no end. After such a confrontation you’d think you would try to erase it from your memory.
“You scared me, bro. I never thought I’d see so much blood in one place. Not like that.”
Shutting your eyes, you try to tune his words out as a tingle shoots up your arm. He doesn’t know the cause, you know that much. But it never is great to bring back such a disastrous moment.
You turn your head to your right and look at the spot. Your cellmate’s long-since returned to his bed and you stare at the stain that missed being scrubbed off.
The redness of it makes you want to become colorblind. The irregular shape irks you to reform it and the fact that you didn’t succeed burns in your heart.
You ignore the voice that tells you the spot is no wider than an inch and no taller than a fly.
Surprisingly enough, the outside world is comforting. The green grass sinks under your boots and the endlessly blue sky threatens to suck you into its vacuum. With the calm you’re feeling right now, you really wouldn’t mind if it did.
The yard is swarming with men, big and small, tall and short. In the far left corner, you sense a fight threatening to break out as one of your enemies teases people of a different race.
You decide not to linger long, knowing the consequences of staring. The far end of the field is nice anyway.
You rest your forehead against the chain-link fence separating the yard from the small courtyard your brother used to occupy. Its emptiness affects you more than you let on as you thread your fingers through the metallic holes. It wasn’t that long ago you stood in the same spot informing your cellmate of your relationship.
Turning back time was like relinquishing memories.
Before long, you feel someone walk up behind you and you turn sharply, running into the awaiting fist of another enemy. You fall to the floor, coughing, as blood seeps out of your nose. Hands grab at your jacket, pulling you to your feet and you find no strength to prevent it.
“Nice to see you, Fish,” he spits out as his cronies drag you toward the garden shed. You refuse to cooperate with them, dragging your feet over the grass. Neither man seems to care as they throw you into the room.
Scrambling to your feet, you wipe your nose with your sleeve, ignoring the queasiness in the pit of your stomach. “What do you want, John?” you ask, masking your fright with a bold tone.
“I seem to recall your escape plan, remember Fish? The one where I was going to supply the jet to get us out of the country, don’t you remember?” He nods to the men behind you and one of them holds your arms behind your back as another throws a fist at your gut.
Groaning, you find yourself unable to double over and you just lean forward, reliving one of the first experiences with these same men. If you weren’t focusing on the pain in your stomach, you would throw a weary glance at your feet.
“You thought just because your brother died I would cut you some slack, huh?”
“Shut up,” you growl, glaring at him, trying to keep back the forming tears. This time you fall to the floor as the man behind you twists your arm and another man cuffs your eye.
“Men, I just don’t think Scofield understands, do you?”
“No,” the cronies reply in unison. You struggle to breathe as you pull your arm to your stomach, tending to the aches.
He decides to do something for himself as he pulls you to your feet by the front of your shirt and you gulp as his shank glints in a spark of sunlight.
Breathing rapidly, you plead in a gruff voice, “Don’t do this, John.” You turn your head quickly when you hear the clattering of a pipe against the floor. Fearing for your life is all you can do.
The man trudges up to him, handing your enemy the pipe. He graciously takes it and slams it into your right arm and you yelp in pain, your knees buckling.
“I suggest you stand up straight, Fishy. It would do you good,” he growls as he presses the cool metal of his shank against your neck. He drags it across your skin shortly, and you shudder. “I’ll be seeing you.”
The sun’s rays are coming up as you walk down the sandy beach slowly, watching the back of your brother as he stretches his arms over his head. Your gait is slow, drowning in the feeling of the sand between your eight toes.
“Hey,” you finally greet as you take a seat next to your brother just as the world becomes lit again.
“Hey,” he replies, distantly watching the horizon. You follow his gaze and mimic his actions.
“What are you looking at?” you finally ask, confusion overriding your emotions.
“The sunrise, dumb ass.”
“I know, but why?”
“They say, down here in Boquerón, that, if you look hard enough, you’ll see dolphins at daybreak,” he says, distantly.
“Being in Puerto Rico has softened you, Linc,” you tease, still watching the waters.
“How’s LJ?” he asks, readjusting himself to sit Indian style. You pull your knees to your chest and rest your chin atop your arms.
“I haven’t seen him yet.”
“He wants to see you.”
“I know. Things keep coming up, all right?” He turns his head sharply, glaring at you. You gulp, feeling yourself shrink under his scrutiny.
“He’s your nephew, Mike. You’re all he has left. He needs someone.”
“Well, you shouldn’t have left,” you whisper, tears forming in your eyes.
“I had to.”
“I’m not arguing with you, Michael,” he states, turning towards the sea once more. You do the same, a tear leaking out the corner of your eye.
“You know you didn’t just leave him,” you confess, tears flowing freely now as you bury your head in your arms.
Silence descends between you and him, the sky still lightening and the tide rising. You’re attempting to contain your sobs and actually succeeding.
“Look!” your brother yells, shaking your shoulder. He’s acting boyish, excited by a marine mammal. But you look anyway, wiping your tears from your face.
The gray bottlenose dolphin is nearing the shore and you feel yourself shrink away.
(A/N): So, what did you think? I will appreciate your comments, since you did read this far. The second installment will be here shortly, whenever I get to finish it.