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Five Minutes to Midnight - Chapter Eight

Five Minutes to Midnight

Rating - R (possible NC-17 somewhere later in the series)
Warnings (for series) - Whole series (including Final Break) spoilers, violence, (probably) sex, cursing, death, het (canon and not-quite canon pairings), classical literature and mythology references, questionable knowledge by the author of science, medicine, code-breaking and the mechanics of shady multinational conglomerates who secretly rule the world.
Author’s Note - This is the second of four planned stories that don’t directly violate canon, but take place after Final Break in an attempt to make it more palatable (and, to me, more poetic and satisfying). See “Into the Dark” on ffn or my livejournal for the first in the series. Huge thanks to andacus for being my beta and mind-mate (as always) and totuesdaeschild for her encouragement and feedback.
Disclaimer - If it belonged to me I would have established that Christina Scofield had an horrific sociopathic evil twin that took her place after the lovely mother of both Lincoln and Michael died of liver cancer sometime in the 1980s. Since that didn’t happen... you know that nothing Prison Break related belongs to me.

Summary - Finding out that Michael is still alive and has been held by The Company for four years might be life-altering for Sara and Lincoln, but it’s also just the beginning...



Chapter One
Chapter Two - Part One
Chapter Two - Part Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five - Part One
Chapter Five - Part Two
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven



Chapter Eight


In the black of night, inky waves lapped against Lincoln’s feet as he and his six allies quietly came ashore beneath the sole dock on the isolated island. The boat would have been a dead giveaway to their presence so the group had swam to shore, leaving the yacht anchored and unmanned out at sea.

Wordlessly, the group removed their scuba tanks and changed out of their drysuits, stashing the pile as far out of sight beneath the wooden pier as they were able. It was a risk, certainly, but a calculated one. They’d need the supplies to return to the boat, but they definitely couldn’t carry them with as they attempted the rescue. One of Jane’s men covered the pile with a sand-colored tarp and Lincoln prayed, not for the first time, that everything would go smoothly.

Jane pulled open a waterproof bag and quickly handed out small earpieces and weapons to everyone in the group. He moved to put the earpiece in immediately and took a second to survey the area as he did so.

Light flooded out from both of the bigger buildings, spilling around the dock in a way that made them seem brighter than they undoubtedly were. While he couldn’t see anyone from where they currently were, he could hear feet shuffle overhead unsettlingly close. A sharp intake of air to his right told him Sara had heard it too and he tensed in anticipation of discovery that never came. The footsteps faded, their steady gait moving away at an unhurried pace, and Sara blew a long exhale through her pursed lips.

“If you shoot, shoot to kill,” Jane’s hushed voice rang out through his earpiece and Lincoln’s eyes darted to her in surprise.

She must have interpreted his furrowed brow - or the identical one Sara undoubtedly wore - correctly because she elaborated a moment later.

“It will be easier on us if we can avoid detection all together, but if we’re made then we need to eliminate the threat. A wounded agent can still expose us,” she reminded them.

“And dead men tell no tales,” one of Jane’s men followed up with an easy smile that left Lincoln wondering if maybe the man had been doing this sort of thing for too long.

“Dead men tell plenty of tales,” Sara contradicted, voice quiet but urgent. “They certainly tell that there’s intruders here if someone finds the body.”

“We do this my way,” Jane reminded her solemnly, clearly indicating that it wasn’t open for debate.

To Lincoln’s surprise, Sara nodded with little hesitation.

“You’re okay with this?” he asked her, covering his mouthpiece in an attempt to only be heard by her.

“You’d, um... you’d be surprised what I’m okay with if it means getting Michael back,” she replied with an uneasy little laugh as she tucked her hair behind her ears.

“Aren’t you?” She questioned, looking at him hesitantly, like she needed his affirmation to put her conscience at ease. “Okay with it, I mean? Given everything.”

He thought about it honestly for a moment. There was a lot of blood on his hands at this point, most of it Company, most of it in immediate reaction to a threat, little of it he regretted. It wasn’t him killing that gave him pause, it was Sara getting her hands dirty. Again. Still, he couldn’t tell her that.

“He’s my brother,” Lincoln said gruffly, as if that was answer enough.

Sara nodded, so maybe it was.

The lights around the main building flickered and a slow grin spread across Jane’s face.

“That’s the signal from our man on the inside,” she said. “Surveillance cameras are on a video loop for the next hour. Set your watches. We all have to be back here by... 2355 or we’ll be caught on camera and facial recognition software will have us identified almost instantly.”

Linc nodded and set his own watch before looking back up at the group.

“What the hell kind of time is 2355?” Sucre hissed toward Alex in confusion.

“Military time for five minutes to midnight,” Alex replied quietly, fiddling with the other man’s watch for him.

“She couldn’t just say that?” Sucre questioned, earning a shrug from Alex and no response at all from the blonde in question.

“Greg, Oliver, perimeter check,” Jane said with a jerk of her head toward the largest building.

The two men, dressed identically to Michael’s guards who’d been barely visible on the surveillance video, strode confidently out from underneath the dock, walking in tandem to circle the main building. Lincoln held his breath, waiting for shouting or an alarm or gunfire, anything that indicated they’d been detected, but nothing happened. Strangely, he found himself thinking that in a lot of ways it was easier to be in the midst of a firefight than doing all this sneaking around. The tension was stifling and their deadline was making him antsy.

Seconds ticked by like minutes and for what seemed like forever Lincoln wondered if his watch was actually broken. But Jane seemed oddly at ease and eerily in control and soon enough the two men rounded the edge of the building and nonchalantly made their way back to the group.

“No surprises,” the taller one said.

“On the dock above?” Jane asked.

“Three men who look bored as hell,” the shorter one replied. “They’re aboard the boat now.”

“Well let’s move before they do, shall we?” Jane asked rhetorically. “Oliver, Greg, you know what to do. Meet us at the arranged spot after its done-”

“Wait a minute, what are they-” Alex began suspiciously.

“There’s no time for details,” Jane said sharply, her blue eyes locking with Alex’s challenging ones. “It’s vital to the mission and it doesn’t change our agenda.”

“There was plenty of time,” Sara pointed out, sounding no less uncomfortable than Alex had.

“This is need-to-know and you don’t,” Jane replied crisply. “And we’re wasting time, which is something we don’t have.”

“Go,” Linc confirmed, nodding at Jane’s two men before looking back to the blonde, mistrust surely evident in his gaze. “If this comes back to bite us in the ass...”

“It won’t,” Jane assured him confidently. “Now, you four follow me and try to look like you belong here.”

Looking at ease was, Linc knew, not his strong suit. Sucre’s either, judging by the wooden gait his friend had adopted. Sara fared slightly better, stepping out from under the dock and making her way across the sand and onto the grass in Jane’s wake, her steps purposeful and her head held defiantly. The only one of their group aside from Jane who actually looked casual was Alex.

Linc watched as Jane pressed something onto her thumb before the five of them approached the door to the main building. There were no guards standing watch but that hardly meant that there was no security. Jane flipped open a small electronic pad next to the door and moved to press her covered-thumb to it but, just as she did so, the door swung open and a startled looking man stood before them.

“Uh... sorry,” he said, looking them over as Lincoln’s heart pounded in his throat.

“No problem. Didn’t hit any of us,” Alex smiled thinly.

“Yeah,” the guy said, taking a step away before halting in his tracks.

Lincoln’s hand drifted of its own accord down to his gun, it’s cool metal reassuring against his fingertips. Things couldn’t go to hell now. Not this quickly. Not when they hadn’t even gotten into the building.

“Are you, uh, are you new?” Alex asked the Company man proactively and Lincoln could hear Sara gulp at his side.

“What?” the other guy asked, looking them over again.

“You didn’t let the door shut all the way,” Alex clarified, nodding his head toward the door Jane’s foot had propped open. “Its security protocol.”

“Oh, right, yeah,” the guy shrugged. “I transferred in last week. Thanks for the reminder.”

“Not a problem,” Alex smiled thinly.

“It’s just... you... you look kind of familiar,” the man ventured, directing his gaze toward Linc.

“Yeah, you too,” Lincoln lied. “Were you in on that thing in Turkey last year?”

“What thing in Turkey last year?” the guy puzzled.

“I’ll take that as a no,” Linc replied with a thin, insincere smile.

“We’ve gotta get going,” Jane said, half by way of reminder and half in an attempt to rid themselves of the clueless Company agent.

“Yeah, sure. Have a nice night,” the guy said before turning around, shaking his head as he wandered off.

Linc didn’t let out a sigh of relief until the five of them were inside the building with the door solidly shut behind them.

“That was too close,” Sara muttered.

“It took too much time and he still might remember who Lincoln is at any moment,” Jane reminded them.

“Then what the hell are we standing around here for?” Lincoln asked gruffly.

Jane didn’t answer directly, but nodded her head toward the stairwell to their right and drew her gun.

“Alex, take point with me,” she instructed quietly as she began moving. “Fifth floor. We don’t know which room, but we do know he has two guards on him at all times, so that’s what we’re looking for. Take them both out as fast and quietly as possible. Linc, Sucre, watch our backs. Sara, you’re keeping an eye on our flank.”

They were up the stairs in no time flat and Lincoln felt sure that it was the adrenaline coursing through his veins that kept him from feeling at all winded from their hasty climb. Their soft footfalls echoed dimly in the empty hallway, a dull hum of fluorescent lighting the only accompaniment. It was a good sign, a great sign. Abso-fucking-lutely ideal. But it set Lincoln further on edge anyhow.

“This is too easy,” he mumbled beneath his breath.

“No such thing,” Jane countered, her voice whispering through his earpiece.

Linc didn’t argue his point with her aloud. Even if this had been the time and place for such a conversation, he was pretty sure that trying to convince Jane would be like talking to a brick wall. That didn’t mean he agreed with her, though. In his experience, anytime things came too easily it just meant the other shoe loomed overhead, ready to drop.

“Team leader, phase one is complete,” the voice of one of Jane’s men crackled in Linc’s ear.

“Acknowledged,” Jane responded, methodically scanning the open door to a room before moving past it. “Move on to your secondary objective and grab our inside man.”

“Confirmed,” the voice replied and the line went silent again.

Linc chanced a glance down at his watch and winced as he looked back down the hallway ahead of them.

“Jane, I hate to state the obvious,” he started. “But we’ve gotta pick up the pace here. We’ve got thirty-seven minutes left and if we’re looking for two guards then this hall is-”

Oh my God,” Sara’s voice broke in and Lincoln’s eyes snapped toward her.

“Sara, what...” Jane began.

“That’s his room,” she said, swinging the door next to her open.

Part of Lincoln wanted to scream at her for being foolhardy and opening the door herself, heedless of any dangers that might lie beyond the threshold. But a bigger part of him, an overwhelming part, of him was solidly crushed at the sight of his brother’s prison these past four years - empty.

Somewhere in the background, Lincoln could hear Jane reporting in to her team. Saying something about secondary locations and additional risk factors. But mostly... mostly Lincoln was trying not to watch Sara walking bewildered into the room.

His eyes drifted toward the wall under the surveillance camera they’d tapped into before. It stood like a vigil to the life that Michael had been denied, a goddamned memorial to the family he’d lost the chance to be a part of. Dozens of photos of everyone Michael loved were plastered carefully across the plain white wall - Sara building sandcastles with Mikey, LJ with his buddies at a football game in full face paint with the team’s name written out across their bare chests, Linc sitting with Sofia on the dock in front of their boat with a pair of beers in their hands and contented smiles on their faces. It was jarring, the evidence of how close The Company had been to them for all these years. But more than that, it was enraging how they’d used him and Sara and Mikey to taunt Michael, to push him to do what they wanted.

Linc’s eyes caught Sara’s watery ones and his ire doubled twofold. She was holding it together, but only just - the pillow from Michael’s bed clutched to her chest and a desperate quest for answers that he didn’t have haunting her eyes.

“Where the fuck is he?” Lincoln seethed, turning toward Jane.

“We knew this was a possibility,” she reminded him. “We’ve always known he leaves this room erratically for several hours a day.”

“Where the fuck is he?” Lincoln repeated, his voice lower and quieter than before but with so much more weight behind it.

“We don’t know,” Sara replied, drawing his frantic eyes again. “Isn’t that right? We don’t know.”

“That’s right,” Jane replied, nodding solemnly toward Sara. “And we’re running out of time fast.”

“So what do we do?” Sucre interjected. “He’s here, right? I mean, somewhere.”

“We split up,” Mahone replied, anticipating Jane’s response. “We don’t have a choice.”

“Sara, Sucre and Linc - keep on this hallway. Alex and I will sweep the halls that shoot off from this one. Look for the guards. Shoot the guards. Get Michael. Get back to the stairwell,” Jane ordered crisply.

It was definitely a plan that Lincoln could get behind.

“G’luck,” he offered up toward Alex, even as they hurried back out the door that led to Michael’s room.

Alex didn’t reply in words, but the curt nod of his head and solemn expression spoke loudly for him. One of them would find Michael. Deadline or not, surrounded by Company assassins or not, they were not about to leave him behind. It was simply a matter of time.

~

Hours and days bled together for Michael, had for who knew how long. He worked when he could, ate when they fed him, exercised when they made him and slept when he was tired. When he needed to think, needed to remember, he stared at the pictures on his wall, made up stories behind them, tried to recall what Sara’s fingers felt like tangled in his or the rich bass of Lincoln’s laughter. Whenever that became too much to bear - which was often - he escaped to his lab and worked whether he felt up to it or not.

It was better than the alternative.

Like yesterday and the day before and hundreds upon hundreds of days before, there was nothing special about today. Nothing, that is, until the alarms rang out in their sharp staccato tone and the door to Michael’s room swung open. Then, for the first time in a long time, today mattered.




Tags: fic, fmtm, my_fic, prison break
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