Alright everyone, here it is. The final chapter of my little story! I just want to say, I've had so much fun writing this, and I'm going to miss it. I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to review my little tale!

Sarahofearth- I want to thank you for your wonderful betaing and the long reviews. I loved reading them, and it's always great to find someone that I share the same interests with! You have been, by far, my #1 fan of this story. I hope you will stick around for my others. (which yes, I will be sending your way to beta, girl.) So, lots of big hugs sent to you! (hug) (hug) (hug) (hug) (hug)

Misswildfire-Your continuous input and reviews have been awesome. I know some writers don't really listen to what reviewers have to say, but I do. Your suggestions have been very helpful! So hugs to you too!

Simileum- Same goes for you! Thanks much!

Morgan, Chaigirl, Frost, Cylentwind, Nimue26, Storywriter, Lexa, Sharpshooter626, and all of the other reviewers, thanks a lot to you also!

So here goes, I hope it doesn't disappoint you!

Loyalties Ch.9

"Uncle Martin! Thank you so much for coming." Veronica exclaimed as she opened the door and wrapped the older man in a warm hug.

"Where is he?" Martin asked after returning her hug, slipping right into doctor mode.

"He's in my bedroom" she answered after a pause, watching him remove his coat and the black hat he always wore.

"Then lets go." he said, starting towards the door.

Veronica grabbed his arm, pulling him to a stop.

"Wait, there's something I have to tell you first." she said slowly.

"What?" he asked, looking at her with suspicion. He knew his niece well, and he could tell by her body language she was up to something.

"It's not LJ in there, Martin." she said quickly.

"It's not LJ? Then who is it?" he asked in surprise.

"A friend of mineā€¦ And let me say ahead of time that I'm sorry for involving you, but he's in really bad shape. I didn't know who else to call." She replied hastily, and then releasing his arm, led him into the bedroom.

"Veronica, are these men who I think they are?" Martin asked after a sharp intake of breath at seeing them.

"Yes, they are, but that's not important now." she said in response.

"I refuse to have any part in aiding fugitives of the law." Martin said stiffly, and turned to exit the room.

"Wait! Just listen for a moment, okay?" Lincoln said loudly, walking to stand in front of him, blocking his exit.

"Move." Martin said shortly, not looking the least bit intimidated by the bigger man.

"Martin, I know that my face and my brother's has been pasted all over the TV, and yes, we did escape from prison. But if you believe nothing else I tell you, believe this, my brother is not a criminal. He only did what he did so he could help me escape. Hell, he didn't even try and put up a fight when they arrested him, that should tell people something. You have to help him. If you do, I will call and turn myself back in if you want. Just help him!" Lincoln pleaded.

Martin stared at him expressionless for a moment, then turned and walked to the bed where Michael was laying.

"What happened?" Martin asked, and breathing a sigh of relief, Lincoln went to stand beside the man as he answered.

"He was shot several days ago." Lincoln replied, and hearing LJ gasp, turned to him.

"What! Why did you lie to me?" the outraged teenager asked. "You said you were just under the weather!"

"I'm s-sorry, LJ." Michael said in a strained voice. "Didn't want to worry you."

"Take him out of here, Veronica," Martin ordered.

"No way! I want to know if Michael's going to be okay!" LJ protested. "I'm not a baby!"

"Come on." Veronica said softly, putting her hand on his shoulder and pushing him towards the door.

"No!" LJ stated, resisting her.

"Come here." Michael said, looking at his nephew.

Veronica took her hand off his shoulder and let him go.

"I'll be fine." Michael said to the teen. "So do what they say."

"You promise?" LJ asked, looking at him unsurely.

"Yeah." Michael replied. Bending down to hug him, LJ reluctantly left the room.

"Help me turn him over." Martin ordered Lincoln, after being told where Michael had been shot.

"My god." the man said, seeing the wound.

Michael had passed out again, and seeing the look of distress on the doctor's face, Lincoln asked,

"Can you help him?"

"I'll do what I can, but I'm not going to promise you anything. How in the world did you let this young man get in such a state?" he asked accusingly.

And while Martin did what he could for his brother, Lincoln filled him in on the happenings of the last few days.

A few hours later, LJ woke up in the recliner he had fallen asleep in, roused by the sound of Martin entering the room.

"Well, how is he?" he asked anxiously.

"He's still holding his own. I patched him up and gave him some antibiotics and pain killer, but the rest is up to him." Martin replied, as he sat down on the couch with a sigh. "He's asleep now."

"He's not a bad person. My dad's not either." LJ proclaimed out of nowhere. "They set my dad up, you know, killed my mom too."

"Well, I don't know about all that, I'm too tired to think about it right now." Martin replied.

They sat in silence for a few minutes before LJ once again spoke, "Are you gonna turn my dad and Mike in?" he asked, worry written on his face.

"No, I don't believe I will." the old man replied, and LJ smiled at him in thanks.

(2 wks later)

"You put that down right now, young man!" Martin ordered Michael angrily.

"I'm just taking the trash out, Martin, I feel so useless just sitting around your house, eating up your and Maggie's food." Michael replied.

"Now, Michael, do as he says." Martin's wife said in a chastising voice.

"You'll feel even more useless if you undo all the work I've had to do on that back of yours." Martin said shortly, walking up and taking the bag from Michael's hand. "Now go sit down!"

"That's all I do." Michael muttered under his breath as he went and took his usual position on the couch. He had been staying with Martin and his wife for the last week and a half, and felt as if he was taking advantage of the elderly couple, even though many a time they had told him differently.

Martin found Michael to be a very intelligent young man, and had many enjoyable conversations with him, and Maggie couldn't have asked for a more polite or gracious house guest. He always made a point to compliment her cooking, and even if he didn't help with actual chore type things around the house, he helped fill an old woman's time during the day, and to her, that was worth much more. They were both going to miss him when he left and sincerely hoped things worked out for him and his brother.

"Oh quit your pouting, Mike." Lincoln said, popping his brother playfully on the head, as he entered the room, followed closely behind by LJ, who said,

"You should be happy they don't make you do anything, Veronica works me like a slave."

"And you'll continue doing what she says, Slave." Lincoln said to his son, putting him in a headlock.

"Stop it, dad." he whined. "You're messing up my hair."

"Oh the trauma." Lincoln said sarcastically, releasing him, and he sat beside his brother on the couch.

"How's Michael doing today?" he asked lightly, and Michael smiled at him, happy to see his brother looking so carefree, even if it was for a short time.

"Michael's fine, just bored out of his mind." he replied, frowning.

"Look, I'm just glad you're getting better, and you should be too. So don't go trying to do anything you're not ready for and hurt yourself again. You hear me?" Lincoln asked, looking at Michael with a serious expression.

"Yeah, I hear you." Michael replied, and then asked Lincoln, "Did he talk to her?"

"Yeah, she took the news about as well as could be expected, but she'll be alright I think." Lincoln answered solemnly.

LJ had gone to see Mariecruz, told her what had happened to Sucre, and given her the message he had sent. Michael had wanted to go himself, but with the police still hunting for them, and him not totally healed from his ordeal, it had been decided that LJ would go. Michael still intended to one day go and see the woman himself though.

Sucre had been more than just an inmate who wanted to escape, he had been a friend, and Michael never forgot friends.

A week after arriving on Veronica's doorstep, C-note had been recaptured at the home of one of his old partners-in-crime, ending up right back in Pope's prison again. Veronica had openly expressed her concern about the man ratting out his fellow escapees, but they weren't concerned with that. He wouldn't turn them in.

Abruzzi had come by Martin and Maggie's house three days ago, driving a new Lexus, and the brothers at first had not even recognized the man. He had shaved, and his hair was cut short. He had wanted to come say goodbye to them, and though he had not known Abruzzi long, Michael had felt like he was saying goodbye to a longtime friend. It was kind of funny actually, he had hated the man in prison, but he was now actually going to miss him. Abruzzi was going to move to a disclosed location for an undetermined amount of time, so Michael was pretty sure he'd never see the man again, but no one knew for sure.

As for him and Lincoln, they were also planning to move on in another few days, when the good doctor gave him permission, that is.

LJ had argued about wanting to go with them, but Lincoln had stood firm that it just was not going to happen, but had promised his son that he would keep in close touch with him by phone until the day he was officially cleared of the murder he'd been on death row for. With Veronica still working diligently on the case, Michael had no doubts that it would one day happen. Then Lincoln would return to his son, and Veronica, who, though he had not openly admitted it, Michael knew had rekindled his old flame within the past weeks.

Michael knew it would happen, and was happy for them. The only loose end for him was Sara, who, when the time came, he would set things right with. He now realized even though he had hurt her, it would do even more harm to reinvolve her at this point. In time, he would fix it though, and thanks to his brother and the friends he had acquired during his time in prison, that was something he had more of now, and he would use it wisely.

"Hey, you alright?" Lincoln asked, looking at his brother's solemn expression with concern.

"Yeah, I'm good." Michael replied with a smile. "As a matter of fact, I'm great."

Things were good.

For now.

THE END

Okay, I kind of left it open at the end for a sequel, because I had so much fun writing this, and I hope everyone didn't mind the kind of happy ending I gave them. I felt I'd put them through enough torture (for a while at least). So, I know it's sappy, but this is the end!

So until I decide to write a sequel, ta ta for now!

P.S. Sarah- I didn't kill C-note, but I did put him back in prison for you!