"Bless you, Jem."
Sara wrapped her hands around the warm paper cup and gently blew through the hole to cool it down. Caffeine. Thank god. She'd been so exhausted lately. When she wasn't having nightmares about the riot, she was thinking, thinking, thinking, tirelessly, trying to solve the mystery of Michael Scofield. Not just why he was incarcerated, or why he was so good at getting under her skin, but what he was plotting deep behind those blue-green-gray-beautiful eyes. Was he thinking about his future beyond these walls, or regretting--and no doubt reworking--his foolhardy bank robbery plan? His thoughts, the mystery of them, had become her thoughts. Sara, however, had just a handful of hints and clues to the world behind Michael's eyes. It was an impossible puzzle, and yet she was drawn, endlessly drawn, to find the jigsaw solution.
"Aw, dang. We're already short a gurney."
Her nurse's voice broke into the maze in Sara's head.
"An overnight? Who is it?"
"Don't know. And it's more than an overnight problem. It's an eternity problem. Somebody's dead. There's a note from Jackie--the county morgue is backed up. They won't be able to pick up the body until noon or something."
"Who is it?"
Jemmy handed her the note. Everything Jem had said was everything there was to read.
She starred at the stack of paperwork at the nurses' station. Somewhere in the pile was a chart that would name the dead man. In that moment she decided that if Michael was dead, if he were the one killed, that she couldn't bear to see his name first, before she saw...It had to be his face. She found herself wishing, perversely, dementedly, that he'd died with his eyes open. She wanted to see his eyes and know the whole truth before she read some C.O.'s report or absorbed the details from a careless night nurse's scribblings. She couldn't bear to have someone else between her and him, even if he was dead.
Oh, shut up. He's not dead. He can't be. He's too smart--they're monsters. They'd snap his neck--stop thinking like that. It's not fair, they're humans just like, damaged--oh, my god. Shut up, slut. Politically correct--gah. They're deranged cretins, all so far gone into testosterone-fueled stupidity--Oh, god. Michael. You were the exception that proved the truth of the rule. If you've gotten yourself killed…
Fox River's dead were kept in the back room of the infirmary until the county came to retrieve their bodies, so often encrusted with blood, organs shredded by shiv wounds, throats bubbling with oxygen and death. Sara's heart pulsed with a bitter shot of adrenaline, a clenching burst of fear. The rest of her simply curled up--her stomach was warped and her eyes clenched shut, involuntarily. Behind her eyelids, all she could see was his mesmerizing eyes, and the half-smile that kept appearing before her windshield, her shower curtain, her newspaper, her prescription pad. Every clear surface had become a canvas for her mind's snapshots of him.
Oh god. When had that started? When had he started being everywhere? Damn your eyes, Michael Scofield.
The rattle of her own keys startled her. She realized she was surrounded by a rushing, roaring flood of fear.
You are out of your mind, Sara. Get a grip. He's dead, and you need to get over it. He's alive, and you're SO crazy to be so scared that's not true. What the hell happened to you! When did you get so--
Sara choked out a sob.
Oh lord. Pull it together, and pull back that sheet. It's like pulling a tooth. Better to face the big pain than suffer a long, throbbing, miserable--
Dr. Sara Tancredi swallowed the fear and the tears. If Michael was dead, his body deserved better than to be greeted by a whimpering, miserable mess.
Do it. Pull the tooth. Pull back the covers.
It was an old man. It wasn't Michael. Before her eyes even focused on the corpse's face, she knew it wasn't him. Michael's silhouette followed her everywhere. The lines of his face, the shape of his shoulders. Those cheekbones. These jowls belonged to another man.
Thank. God. And fuck you Michael Scofield. God, Scofield's too skinny to be in here. Lincoln looks like a convict--he belongs. Michael looks like a fucking artist. What kind of moron was he anyway to be so smart and to still try to rob a bank without a ski mask? Didn't the bastard watch TV? That's how it's done. Rest in peace, Reynold Bayers. Rest in peace. God!
Sara caught a glance herself in the warped metal of a storage cabinet. Tear-stained. She wiped the wet salt away and pulled her hair into the tightest, most severe bun she could manage with five hairpins. Deep breath. Dried out and back in control, she vowed to avoid Michael Scofield today. She'd have to see him, have to touch him to inject him with his insulin, but eye contact was out of the question. Because if she looked up and saw those eyes, so alive and direct, looking at her face, it would screw her up completely.
Whatever, girl. You know you can't not look at him. Even if he's looking away, you're going be twisting your head every which way to get into those eyes.
Sara sighed and tried not to smile at her own foolishness and the ravaged old body before her--Reynolds had been fighting heart failure for as long as she'd been at Fox River--and instead thought of the living thing walking somewhere inside this prison that…
...that I love. Oh god I'm in love with him. Awesome. This is fantastic. Except for the part where it's the worst idea ever. Michael Scofield, thank god you're alive, because it means I can kill you for this.
Sara checked her watch.
Benson was probably already in the exam room. She was two minutes late for his ulcer. And then at 9:30, McLogue's wound was apparently infected.
And then there were only 12, 13, 14 other patients before…
Sara Tancredi smiled.