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Five Minutes to Midnight - Chapter Ten (Part Two) (COMPLETE!!!)

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
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten - Part One

The small room felt tinier than it was as they strode in. She kept walking the few steps to the other side of the room. He stayed just inside the door as it shut behind him. The distance was palpable - a taut, heavy thing that spanned an ocean and years - but the pained look of longing in his eyes cut straight through all that and the sight of it made her breath go shallow.

“Sara...” he started, her name rough like sandpaper on his tongue.

Arms weighed-down heavily at her sides, she stood stock still save for a tiny nod of her head, urging him to continue on with whatever was on his mind.

“It’s been years,” he began, wincing a little as he spoke.

“Just over four years,” she clarified, finding her voice as she realized he likely didn’t honestly know how long it had been.

“Four years...” he echoed, a mournful look on his face aging him before her eyes. “Sara, I... I just want you to know that I understand. I was dead and you were alive, young and beautiful and free. If you’ve found someone to share your life with, I’ll respect that. I just... I just want you to be safe and happy.”

She laughed in spite of herself, a short nervous thing that bubbled up inside her and set itself free against her own volition.

“Um, the only man in my life is about three and a half feet tall and he’s got your eyes,” she said in response, her voice turning up at the end like a question.

“Then... Sara, then why are you on the other side of the room?” Michael asked.

“She tried to look like me, Michael,” Sara replied, voice fierce and sincere. “God, after everything, after everything, they locked you in a room with a warden who looked like me and they left you there. I just... I can’t even imagine...”

“The more she tried to look like you, the more I saw all the ways she wasn’t,” Michael interrupted.

Out of all the possible things he could have said, that ranked right up there with the ones she most wanted to hear.

“I didn’t want to overwhelm you,” she explained.

“Sara,” he said, shaking his head a little in disbelief, lips quirking into a familiar little half-smile.

“What?” She asked anxiously, getting the definite sense she was missing something.

“You’ve always overwhelmed me,” he told her.

Her eyes pinched shut against an onslaught of emotion, her hands shook and her jaw quivered and the ground felt unsteady beneath her feet. When her eyelids fluttered back open, he looked like a man waiting for an answer to a question he hadn’t asked.

“That, uh, that charm act could get you in trouble if you’re not careful,” she said, voice shaking as badly as her hands but a nervous smile inching across her lips.

“I think I’ve heard that somewhere before,” he replied, the corners of his eyes crinkling in amusement.

She shut her eyes and blew a nervous breath through thinned lips before meeting his intense gaze again. It struck her that he was looking at her like a wild animal that might bolt at any given moment, if provoked. And she wondered when, exactly, in all her worry over his state of mind and overwhelming him, this had all turned back around to be about her. It made sense, really, that Michael would hone in on her needs and her well-being, ignoring his own. He’d always done that. But what she’d failed to consider, what she hadn’t really thought about, was that The Company had taken her future and her hopes away just as surely as they had Michael’s. In light of that, it was understandable that she felt a little terrified with having all of that given back to her all at once.

“I’m going to kiss you, Sara,” he said, all traces of amusement gone from his eyes, replaced with something more basic. “Unless you object.”

She nodded fiercely by way of reply, her voice stuck somewhere in her throat as he slowly stepped across the room, cautious and wary, giving her plenty of time to voice objections she definitely didn’t have.

He raised his hands to her face, long fingers stroking across the skin of her cheeks, burying his fingertips in the roots of her hair. She couldn’t help the muffled little noise she made or the way her face curved to nuzzle his palm. It had been years since anyone had touched her like this; it had been years since she’d wanted anyone to. But, God had she missed it. She hadn’t even realized how much she’d missed it.

The intensity of his gaze burned against her skin and she raised a palm of her own to trace the planes of his face. He shuddered a little under her touch, almost certainly unused to affection of any sort at this point. She ran her fingers along the rise of his cheekbone, the curve of his jaw, the swell of his lips. Her eyes lingered on his mouth, just inches away and so much clearer than any hazy half-remembered dream of him had ever been.

Her hand curled around to the back of his head, tangling in his too-long hair, but she didn’t close the space between them, as much as she wanted to. That part she’d leave to him.

He leaned forward slowly and her eyes fluttered shut as she angled her face toward him. The pressure of his lips against hers was so controlled, so feather-light that it almost felt unreal. Both of them had their lips parted slightly, but the kiss itself was as innocent and as rife with meaning as anything she’d ever experienced.

After years of dreams where Michael would kiss her only to evaporate into thin air, she craved more, needed more, to prove to herself that he was here and real and not about to fade away. Her fingers tightened in his hair a little and she nipped against his lips gently. He groaned in response, tightening his hold against her as the air shifted and the tone changed rapidly.

He had always been so careful, so controlled, in everything he did... right up until he wasn’t. From the very beginning of their relationship, there had been little Sara relished more than the instant where Michael’s restraint broke apart, splintering and shattering under her touch. There was something captivating about him when he wasn’t thinking everything through, when everything wasn’t calculated. And it was here, now, with gripping fingers and tugging teeth, that she’d brought that out in him again.

She hadn’t even been aware of them moving, but they must have because all of the sudden her back hit the wall with a dull thud. This, she decided quickly, was a very good thing because she didn’t know if she could rely on her legs to hold her upright with the way he was kissing her now, deep and hungry with total abandon. One of his hands drifted down to hold onto the curve of her hip as the other cradled the back of her head.

It was raw, fierce, a little sloppy. It felt like need and desperation, reaffirmation and defiance all wrapped into one. It was real - so, so real - and she was swept away by the force of it.

And then... and then, suddenly, he wasn’t kissing her anymore. She trailed a little after his lips as he stepped back before looking back at him with confusion written in her eyes.

“Come on in,” he called out, his kiss-swollen lips barely parted and his widely dilated eyes still trained exclusively on her as he spoke.

The door creaked open and it was only as Linc’s burly frame filled the doorway that she realized that the pounding sound moments before had not only been her heart.

Please tell me what you could possibly need right now,” Sara demanded, fully aware that her clothes were rumpled and her hair mussed and there was absolutely no pretending that anything else had been going on moments before.

The set of his jaw and the way he couldn’t meet her eye quickly morphed her anger into something else though, and her heart pounded loudly in her chest for entirely different reasons than it had moments previously.

“I’m sorry, guys, but... we’ve got a problem,” he said hesitantly.

“What is it?” Sara asked, anxiety coloring her voice as she anticipated his answer.

“There’s a posting on the message board-’ he started before Sara interrupted him.

“They’re all right,” she said, as if she was willing it to be true. “You need to tell me right now that they’re all right, Lincoln. You need to tell me that my son is all right.”

“He’s fine as far as we know,” Linc said quickly, meeting her eyes for the first time since coming into the room, and Sara wasn’t sure if she wanted to hug him or kill him in that moment. “But their location has been compromised. They’re on the run and someone’s hurt.”

“Not Mikey?” Sara asked again, instincts as a mother with a child in danger damn near blinding her to everything else.

“We’re pretty sure either Felicia or Sofia got shot,” Linc said atonally.

“Oh Linc...” Sara said.

“How do you know?” Michael asked.

“We used the your old message boards and Natalie posted about an hour ago. Alex and Jane read it through a few minutes ago,” Linc told him.

“What exactly did it say?” Sara asked.

“Uh... ‘Group spotted in southeast Texas. Got a shot of an adult female before they all flew off. Predators scared them away,’” Linc recited from memory.

“We need to get to them now,” Sara insisted.

“We’re headed for the nearest coastal town, but we don’t know where to go,” Linc replied, mounting frustration evident in his voice. “We don’t even know who the hell is after them!”

Something clicked in Sara’s head at that.

“Where is she?” Sara demanded.

“Sara, there’s no way Doctor Middleton could know anything about-”  Linc began.

THEY ARE AFTER MY SON, LINC!” Sara shouted at him.

MY SON IS THERE TOO, SARA!” Linc roared back. “And my girlfriend who may or may not have been shot! We’re gonna do everything we can but you’ve gotta calm down and get your head on straight or you’re gonna be a liability and its gonna get someone killed!”

“Go to hell, Linc,” she said lowly, pushing past him into the hall and bursting into the room across the way.

Jane didn’t look even a little surprised to see her and the hungry look of curiosity on Doctor Middleton’s face only served to incite Sara’s anger more.

“Who’s after them,” she asked with no preamble as Michael and Linc followed her into the room.

“You didn’t think this through at all did you?” Doctor Middleton asked, head quirked to the side as she spoke. “You opened Pandora’s Box, Doctor Scofield.”

Who’s after them?” Sara asked again more demandingly.

“You don’t get it,” Doctor Middleton said, shaking her head a little. “Everyone, Sara. Everyone is after them.”

“Why?” Sara asked.

“How many factions do you think are fighting for control of the Company? We had people at every level in every government and every major business in the world. How many of them want the power, the resources that the Company commanded?” Doctor Middleton inquired.

“What does that matter?” Sara asked irritatedly.

“Sara,” Doctor Middleton tsked. “It’s all about power. It’s all about money. Our faction wasn’t the only one who knew Michael was alive and we weren’t the only ones to believe he could deliver us that power. But he was untouchable to the others when he was in our compound. Now... now there’s blood in the water and they’ll stop at nothing to win.”

“How did they find our people in the first place?” Jane asked.

“You had spies in our organization. Do you honestly think we didn’t have any in yours?” Doctor Middleton asked with heavy disbelief.

“Who?” Jane asked.

“Sorry, not my department,” Doctor Middleton answered coolly. “But... if I were you - and let me clarify here that as bad as my situation currently is, I’m pretty glad that I’m not - I’d keep my eye out for Doctor Irving.”

To Sara’s side, Michael’s whole frame tensed and his eyes widened hugely.

“Repurposed, you said,” he reminded her. “I figured that meant...”

“He saw which way the wind was blowing and jumped to another faction before he got the literal axe,” she explained.

“Why are you telling us all this?” Linc asked.

“I have nothing to gain by keeping it from you. And you’re the ‘good guys’ right? It’s a lot less likely that you’ll kill me if I play nice,” she smiled insincerely.

“Don’t count on it,” Sara told her grimly.

“Who’s Doctor Irving?” Jane asked, directing her question at Michael.

“Doctor Middleton’s predecessor,” he told her.

“He’s a little more... unhinged these days, from what I understand,” Doctor Middleton told them, studying Michael as she spoke. “He’s the one who orchestrated your tumor in the first place, you know.”  

What?” Linc rumbled as Michael’s lips parted in surprise.

“They purposefully only removed part of it in that first surgery,” she told Michael. “It kept you dependent on us but allowed you the time to be useful to us, too. Why in the world would we have really helped you and then set you free? What would have been the sense in that?

“I’m being helpful! Remember?” the captive asked, nodding toward her handcuffed wrists as Linc took a very threatening step toward her.

“We have to end this. We have to,” Sara rambled, hands dragging heavily through her hair. “They can’t keep doing this to people. They can’t! This can’t be the way the world works. This can’t be the way we live our lives!”

“We can’t take them out, Sara,” Michael said, his voice quiet and his eyes pensive.

“This is my son they’re after!” Sara said insistently and Michael’s pained eyes shot to hers.

“He’s my son, too,” he reminded her.

And, God, it was true. She knew it was true. She knew Michael loved their little boy with all his heart and would do anything, anything to keep him safe. But it wasn’t the same. He didn’t know him, hadn’t helped him through colicky nights or kissed scraped knees. She’d been a single parent for her son’s entire life. It was going to take a little getting used to to believe that wasn’t true anymore.

“I know. Michael, I know,” she said, grabbing both his hands in hers and searching his eyes with her gaze. “We have to do something. We can’t let him grow up looking over his shoulder and jumping at every little sound.”

“And we will do something. But taking down the Company isn’t an option,” he told her. “They have their hands in everything. There’s too many of them and they’re too well placed. Look at all the things they controlled when we took them down before. I’d bet anything that with their assets frozen the global economy has been hurt these last few years. How many businesses will topple if it’s gone entirely? Even if we could do it. How many governments would fall?”

Out of the corner of her eye, Sara watched a very thin, very unsettling and very triumphant-looking smile spread across Doctor Middleton’s face. And she hated, hated that the other woman had figured out whatever Michael was about to say  

“What are you saying, man?” Linc asked, and Sara took a little solace in the fact that he looked as lost as she felt.

“We can’t take them out,” Michael said again, tension mounting in the room as he took a deep breath before continuing. “We have to take them over.”

Tags: fic, fmtm, my_fic, pb, prison break

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