Title: Mortal Intricacies
Character(s): T-Bag, LJ Burrows, Michael Scofield, Lincoln Burrows
Pairing(s): T-Bag/LJ, T-Bag/OC
Word Count: 5520
Summary: "God has a funny way of letting bad things happen to generally good people, doesn't he?"
Author's Notes: Happy birthday and ! Also written for prisonbreak100, prompt #076. Who?
Warnings: Spoilers for 0122. Implied slash. Swearing.
Beta(s): almostforgiven and alazysod
There were, in essence, two halves to T-Bag's predicament.
One half – the easy half, considering what the other half entailed and demanded of him – involved locating a doctor who would reattach his hand, no questions asked.
This was simple in practice, since he knew people who knew people who knew people who owed favors, and it hadn't taken long before T-Bag was in the hands (though not literally, of course, unless he asked it of him as payment for the deed, and if he did, T-Bag figured he'd fucked and been fucked by worse) of a seedy looking doctor in the underbelly of Chicago.
The other half – the half in which T-Bag was concerned the most with, and with which T-Bag felt what was left of the sanity he may or may not still currently retain, would leave – required an inordinate amount of patience, tolerance, and a complete trust in the doctor that what he was doing was really going to be worth all the trouble in the end.
"Reattaching tendons, arteries, veins, and nerve endings," the doctor was saying, "is a tricky process."
T-Bag was hardly listening, as much as he knew he should be. But it was difficult to listen when he couldn't stop staring at his own severed hand, completely encased in ice, lying on a metal tray only a foot away.
He'd thought his fascination with the extremity had ended once he'd grabbed it and held it to his chest the entire time he was running.
Apparently, he was mistaken, and now the doctor's words mingled with his own convoluted thoughts that he'd already been having trouble untangling from one another as it was.
"It involves careful and manipulative surgery requiring anaesthetics."
His attention continued to wane, and the doctor's words became even more deeply rooted into the convolution that was what remained of his rational thoughts.
"Though, as it is, I'm afraid there are no anaesthetics currently available to me, and we'll be doing this the hard way."
The reason the doctor had strapped his arms and legs onto the table suddenly became clear, and T-Bag's jumble of thoughts and words and revenge and compensation and what goes around comes around suddenly flew out a metaphorical window inside his head.
Because now all he could think about was the small, self-satisfied smirk on the doctor's face before the – what one could only hope and assume was – sterile mask slipped over his nose and mouth and he pulled his blue latex gloves on with a snap –
And those certainly aren't sterile because T-Bag could see dry blood between the fingers –
And he hoped that the last patient on this table was still alive and well, and not buried in the barely a yard behind the building after a failed operation.
The thought of diseases transmitted through blood never occurred to him; he had more pressing matters to worry about for the moment.
Like the doctor's success rate with his operations, and why he was no longer a working practitioner.
There was also the question of where he got his medical degree, and whether or not he really knew what the hell he was doing.
T-Bag was fairly sure you needed a specialist for this kind of injury, and this doctor looked more like a general surgeon than one whose craft had been honed in hand operations.
And how motherfucking painful this entire chink in his original plans was going to be wouldn't stop prancing its merry way across his mind, forcing his jaw to set in what he could only assume was frustration.
How much this might possibly cost him if things didn't work out wasn't far behind the latter grievous thoughts, though it seemed content in keeping its mouth shut, waiting until the doctor fucked something up before screaming, "It's all over now, Teddy! What're you gonna do now, Teddy?"
His thoughts were slowly manifesting themselves into faces and people and places – no longer just thoughts running through his mind, but thoughts with images and visions attached, calling forth memories he'd rather forget.
And the "What the fuck might this cost me?" thought was taking on the form of his father and all he could hear was his father telling him he was fucked, he was fucked, and look what you've done now, you fucking retard, how're ya gonna get yourself out of this one, boy?
And now you've gone and got your hand cut off, did ya, Teddy? That's right. You always were a little attention-seeker, weren't you? You would do something like that wouldn't you?
Little Teddy Bagwell had manifested himself on the ground beside Daddy Bagwell, with a bleeding stump and severed hand to match T-Bag's own, and Daddy was having a heyday.
"You asked for it, you know," he was saying, nudging at the sobbing Little Teddy with his boot. "You asked for it the moment you swiped those handcuffs and you fucking know God damn well you asked for it, don't even try to say you didn't."
And Little Teddy was shaking his head and Daddy was rolling him over roughly.
"You knew God damn well John wasn't going to let you off that easy – and neither was anyone else."
The manifestation dissipated just as suddenly as it had come, and T-Bag opened his eyes, raising them to watch what the doctor was doing.
The lanky man was carefully preparing T-Bag's hand for replantation, examining where it had been severed by the axe, determining if any bone damage was present, and how much work on the hand would be required before it could be reattached.
He brought the hand to a small table and set it down, perusing a line of tools on a tray nearby.
"You," T-Bag forced from his rather white lips, "you did clean those . . . right?"
The doctor didn't bother to turn his head as he answered. "I think . . . that whether or not the tools I'll be using have been sterilized," and the doctor finally picked what he required for the pre-surgery ministrations on T-Bag's extremity, "should be the least of your concerns at the moment."
T-Bag was suddenly more uncomfortable than he'd ever been in his life.
"Though," and the doctor did turn his head to side-glance at T-Bag, "you will require a tetanus shot." He went back to his work before adding lazily, "Whether or not I can obtain the vaccine is up to you."
T-Bag closed his eyes again and made an attempt to clear his mind.
"How long does this take?"
There was a slight pause, and T-Bag could feel the doctor tense up.
"It," another pause, with an intake of breath in accompaniment, "could take as little as four hours, and as many as twenty-four."
"Can you possibly operate for twenty-four hours straight?"
"Again, that depends entirely upon you, and how you plan on paying me."
T-Bag shook his head. "Whatever you want, Doc."
You're weak, Teddy. Look what you've gone and let Abruzzi do to you. You should've finished the job when you had the chance. Daddy was materializing inside his head again, voicing T-Bag's loathsome thoughts about himself and his shortcomings – softening the blow, in a way, because it wasn't as if he was really hating himself for all his stupid mistakes and all the lost chances, all the missed opportunities.
No. It was his father telling him how much of a screw-up he was and what he did wrong – because after all, who knew better about a man's shortcomings than his alcoholic and abusive father?
You are going to have your revenge, Teddy.
And you're not going to fuck up like you've done before.
You'll get away with it, like you've done before.
You'll give John and Pretty and Burrows what's coming to them, because what fucking goes around fucking comes around.
You're a fucking retard sometimes, and you'll never really accomplish anything, but you'll at least settle the score, won't you? Because a Bagwell never leaves things unfinished.
But I did.
So now you'll finish what you started, won't you?
And when the doctor started suturing tendons together, he screamed.
He was handcuffed to a bed in the spare bedroom of the doctor's apartment because he'd told the fucker he wasn't staying another fucking two days with him, no way in fucking hell –
And then the man had hit him across the back of the head with something heavy, screaming, "You'll fucking stay another two days for your required observational period, or I'll reamputate your motherfucking hand!"
He'd calmed down shortly after, and tended to the gash he'd left on T-Bag's skull before dragging him off to the spare bedroom and cuffing him to the bedframe.
T-Bag decided he'd comply with whatever the doctor wanted from then on out, because as much pain as he was in now, he was grateful to have his hand back – even if it wasn't properly useable as of yet.
There was a heater at the foot of the bed, because the doctor had mentioned the need to keep his blood vessels dilated and to aid in the prevention of blood clots.
"I'll be back in an hour with some blood thinner," he'd grumbled at the doorframe, "and that tetanus shot."
T-Bag had ignored him because he was having trouble concentrating on much of anything besides the pain radiating outward from his wrist and the throbbing from the back of his head.
"And maybe some kind of sedative." He shrugged a shoulder, languidly watching T-Bag's lack of response. "Depends on who I can find at this hour."
He wondered if the doctor was an alcoholic, because the man reminded him, in more ways than one, of his own father. Of his, for the most part, unprovoked outbursts, of the fits of rage that had marred T-Bag's scrawny body all throughout his childhood, followed by the raping and more severe beatings as he moved into adolescence and became an "unappreciative little shit" – in his father's own words, of course.
There was a quiet rage beneath the doctor's exterior, surfacing when, T-Bag assumed, he couldn't quite take it anymore – as was evident by both his concussion and the finger shaped bruises forming on his forearm where the man had gripped it whilst administering the tetanus shot, some mild sedative, and the blood thinner.
Couldn't help it if the self-satisfied man was asking to be pissed with, and that T-Bag was such a person that it didn't take much to grate against another's nerves until the breaking point.
But the good doctor hadn't kicked him out yet – though he was still handcuffed to the bed – and that had to be a good thing.
And if it wasn't, he wasn't sure he wanted to find out why.
The man was nearer to T-Bag's age than to his father's, but he couldn't shake the resemblances they shared – the speech pattern, the slight slouch, the gait . . .
Give him a bottle of bourbon, shorter hair, and a scar above his eyebrow he'd look exactly like T-Bag remembered his father.
He lifted his hand, the heavy bandage wrapped around it restricting most of any upward motion he could possibly achieve otherwise. The barest tips of his fingers could be seen at the top of the bandage and he brought them to his face, not surprised when all he felt was numbness as he pulled them across his cheek.
"Stop fucking with your hand. You want to get a blood clot?"
The doctor had returned with a glass of water and a plate of food.
Hand now returned to its position on a pile of pillows ("Need to keep it elevated," Doc had said), T-Bag nodded to the food and water.
"That for me?"
"No, I made this for myself and planned to eat it in front of you because I'm a dick." When T-Bag looked genuinely hurt (as much truth as there was in the fact that he wasn't and could really care less about how much of a dick the doctor was), the doctor placed the glass on the bedside table, then set the food down near T-Bag's feet before crossing his arms over his chest sullenly.
"Boy, Doc," T-Bag voiced, sucking in his bottom lip for a moment to further aggravate the annoyed man, "you sure are actin' like a teenage girl today."
With nary the thought of even responding to T-Bag's provocation, the doctor produced the key to the handcuffs from his pocket.
"Now . . . whateverthehellyournameis," the doctor fiddled with the key, rubbing it idly between his thumb and forefinger while T-Bag blinked, his gaze settling just below to the left of where the doctor's hand was resting against his thigh, "can I trust you?"
T-Bag flicked his eyes up to glance at the doctor's face before returning to his earlier fascination.
"'Course, Doc." A cockeyed grin was slowly encompassing T-Bag's features, but the doctor paid no heed. T-Bag figured it was because of his current state; it wouldn't take much at all to fend off an attack and pin him down – all it required was that his bandaged hand be gripped and twisted until he screamed bloody murder.
T-Bag's attention remained on the doctor's thigh.
An out-turned pocket. Ironic, considering the situation.
The lock on the handcuffs clicked, opened, and T-Bag was suddenly armed.
"I thought I'd give you your payment," T-Bag paused to suck in air as the doctor panted below him, "but maybe I won't now."
"Yeah?" The doctor made to shift his arm, but T-Bag was quick to pin it with his elbow.
The floor beneath them was dusty, and the doctor's white shirt was picking up more and more brown spots as they continued struggling against one another – T-Bag at a slight disadvantage as he hastened to keep his hand out of the doctor's prevalent reach, but at more of an advantage than he originally would have been, had it not been for the handcuffs now linking T-Bag's right and the doctor's left hand together.
The key was long gone by now, and T-Bag was reminiscent of how he'd ended up losing his hand in the first place.
"You know," T-Bag's face was close to the doctor's, and the doctor wasn't making any move to escape as T-Bag's breath came out in shallow washes over his mouth and nose, "actually, you ain't like my daddy, are you? No. . . . He would've pummeled my ass by now. Would've done whatever he fuckin' could to get the upper hand. Didn't matter how fucked up he was by the end of it all." T-Bag shook his head solemnly, clucking his tongue against the roof of his mouth. "But you've got a reputation to hold up, don't ya? Certain level of professionalism, mm? Wouldn't be good for your business if you was roughed up, now would it?"
Tongue sliding just along the inside of his bottom lip, T-Bag yanked the doctor's hand roughly above his head, sliding it across the wooden planks and collecting a fine film of dust on the doctor's shirt sleeve.
"But you do look like a drinker, now don't ya?" He nodded and pulled at the cuff chain, grasping what little slack there was before clasping the doctor's smooth, albeit sweaty, hand and intertwining their fingers. Something like a devious smile forced his lips into a sneer.
"Haven't been sober since I lost my license," the doctor hissed out, again reaching for T-Bag's hand, but failing.
"Good to know."
"Fuck off." T-Bag rolled over, halfway through with the seemingly normal motion when he remembered his now painfully throbbing bandaged left hand and his cuffed right still attached to the doctor's left.
He gave a throaty groan before rolling back into what was an assuredly more comfortable position.
Said comfortable position just happening to be pressed up against the doctor's side, the pale skin sweating slightly in protesting response to the increased air temperature compared to the rest of the apartment – because a heater can do that to a room whose door is completely shut, without even a window cracked open.
T-Bag laid his bandaged hand to rest on the doctor's chest – the calculated breaths bringing it up and down in short intervals while T-Bag watched it with a near feigned curiosity.
"Why?" he finally chided, a playful grin pulling at the corners of his mouth.
". . . 've gotta get your blood thinner." The doctor sighed and shook his head, grimacing. "And some fucking painkillers."
"What are you doing?"
The bandage around T-Bag's hand was slowly and meticulously removed by the doctor's nimble fingers. He unraveled it, rolling it loosely around his fingers as he did, before he pulled the last of the white cloth away and tossed it to the side.
T-Bag's hand felt light and so did his head.
His vision blurred and slowly blackened at the edges.
The doctor shoved his head down onto a pillow and smacked him.
"Try not to fall unconscious. It's easier if you don't."
The nausea in the pit of his stomach remained constant as the doctor examined his hand, turning it over and gently moving the fingers this way and that.
T-Bag forced out a feeble, "Yeah," and turned his head to the side.
The doctor slowly pressed against the tips of T-Bag's fingers. "This?"
A nod and T-Bag lifted his other hand to his mouth as the bile rose in his throat.
He swallowed it down, grimacing. "Fuck you."
"You look a little pale." The doctor laid T-Bag's hand down across his stomach and watched idly as his arm trembled, the fingers surreptitiously twitching of their own accord.
The doctor leaned in, avoiding the vulnerable extremity between his own body and T-Bag's, and whispered in his ear, "Something wrong?"
T-Bag squeezed his eyes shut, pointedly ignoring the man's question.
Smiling, the doctor grabbed T-Bag's good hand, pulling the fingers back, holding it against the mattress and kneading into the palm with his knuckles. "It's normal, of course," he murmured, "to be a little nauseous after having a cast or heavy bandage removed."
The doctor's shirt brushed against T-Bag's healing hand and he awkwardly lifted it, attempting to pull it farther up his chest.
Without missing a beat, the doctor threw his elbow into T-Bag's good hand, pinning it to the bed, before rolling slightly off T-Bag's body to clutch more readily at the other hand.
He ran his thumb against a stitch, sliding his nail underneath it and tugging for just long enough to hear the hitch in T-Bag's breath.
"It's been a week." The doctor nodded to himself, probing T-Bag's palm with his thumb and pulling at the fingers with his own.
"And the hand looks good, so I'll stop the blood thinners tomorrow."
"And?" T-Bag breathed, his nausea finally subsiding.
"And," the doctor shrugged a shoulder, the gesture clearly indicating he was unconcerned with T-Bag's well-being, "we'll have to start your physical therapy to get this unresponsive hunk of flesh back into working condition soon."
The doctor suddenly sat up and T-Bag took the opportunity to flex his previously entrapped hand, easing away the numbness and the tingling, pins and needles sensation.
The doctor brought forward more bandages and a brace.
"Now sit up and let me put this fucking thing on."
"How much longer you gonna force me to stay here, Doc?" T-Bag lilted, sneering contemptuously at the man from across the table. "I do have my own agenda to attend to."
The doctor snorted and jabbed his fork threateningly in T-Bag's direction, though part of the threat may have been lost amid the eggs collected around the prongs.
"You'll stay here for as long as I say you do."
"You sure are the biggest mother hen I've ever seen. Where're your feathers, anyway?"
The doctor absently chewed on the eggs in his mouth and regarded T-Bag with impunity.
"You need at least three more weeks minimum. After that," he gestured melodramatically, "I'll concede to letting you leave the nest."
"Papa's gonna finally let me spread my wings, oh boy, oh boy," T-Bag leered, the joke not lost on him as he made a small flapping motion with his braced hand.
The doctor stood and moved toward the sink, dropping his plate and silverware into it. "Thought I was the mother?"
"You are." T-Bag ripped off a piece of bacon with his teeth. "You're one o' them parents whose gotta be the mommy and the daddy in the relationship, 'cause one or the other's not qualified to be either or."
Leaning against the counter, arms crossed against his chest, the doctor's stoic observation stirred something deep inside T-Bag.
"Sounds like you have experience with this."
T-Bag's response was defensive.
"Daddy was an alcoholic, you mentioned that. But what was Mommy, I wonder?" The doctor shook his head and left T-Bag to his own devices.
The blinds in the window were cracked open just enough so that T-Bag could hide in the bushes nearby and still watch what was going on.
After all, he hadn't spent two miserable weeks tracking the two down just to miss out on their further plans.
The doctor had been reluctant enough to let him go when he had, and a week after being set loose, T-Bag was tempted to return to him because his hand was hurting and his search seemed futile at this point.
But, he'd found a lead and followed it down south, not willing to lose the trail.
He'd found them in a little house somewhere in Louisiana and was betting money they were getting ready to hop a boat out to international waters.
He couldn't exactly hear them from his vantage, but he could see them, and every once in awhile he caught a word or two as one or the other raised their voice.
And sometimes, he was sure he heard a third voice contributing something. But it wasn't quite as loud as the other two, and regardless, T-Bag didn't recognize it.
But Burrows had a son, now didn't he? He'd heard Scofield and Burrows talking about the kid on P.I. one afternoon – though they'd stopped immediately after discovering he was eavesdropping, and he hadn't heard a word about the kid since.
He waited in patient silence as the argument cooled off, and he could no longer see anyone in the window from his current position.
He hadn't heard head nor tails of the third voice for a while, though Burrows's reprimanding baritone was sharp and clear, and T-Bag managed to catch it at the odd occasion.
"Don't leave the house!"
Footsteps cascaded down a patch of concrete steps, and Burrows's words were easily decipherable as he laid the ground rules, half out the door and half not.
And there was Michael, standing at the edge of the driveway, waiting for Burrows before climbing into the car.
T-Bag wondered momentarily where it was they were headed, but decided he was more interested in who exactly it was they were so indignant upon keeping inside the house.
"Dad – "
"That's final, LJ."
T-Bag was prying open a screen around the back of the house within ten minutes of Burrows and Scofield leaving – waiting just long enough to make sure they weren't turning around to return for something they'd forgotten.
Two windows in the back of the house lacked blinds, and thus enabled him to chance a curious look inside. He'd sat beneath one of the two for precisely two minutes – four minutes after the brothers had left – then adjusted his position until he was on his knees and could see over the sill into the desolate house.
The boy – LJ, he reminded himself – had been padding around, barefooted with a dirty shirt and ripped jeans. His hair was scraggly and falling into his eyes, which were sunken and screamed that the boy hadn't slept in what one could only assume was "awhile."
The screen fell silently to the grass and T-Bag cautiously pressed his face against the glass, peering inside.
LJ was nowhere to be seen, but by the sounds of it, he was in the living room.
Smiling, T-Bag pushed upward slowly, hands flat against the cool glass. Satisfied that the window made no presence alerting groans or squeaks, T-Bag slipped his fingers beneath the bottom of the frame and pulled until he'd created a large enough gap for his body to slip through.
With careful deliberation, he balanced on the sill with his hands and lifted a leg inside, the other following shortly after, before his entirety was standing beside a small, worn bed with faded blankets draped across it.
The room was dark, but the door to the rest of the house was wide open, giving a clear view of what looked to be a short hallway running to both the left and right of the room's exit.
T-Bag quickly assessed his surroundings, looking for possible weapons if he lost his own – a scalpel and switchblade he'd swiped from the doctor, currently residing in T-Bag's front pocket, the scalpel sealed in a small case to prevent any unintentional injuries as he carried it around – and was disappointed to find nothing that would prove useful if worse came to worse, if one counted out the heavy tomes filling the bookcase on the wall.
Though if he was really in a fix, he could always knock little LJ over the head with one. Then the boy wouldn't have any qualms with cooperating, and it'd negate the risk of accidentally killing him.
And Burrows's son was no good to him dead. Not in this case anyhow.
He stepped into the hallway, taking calculated steps as he crossed over the dirtied cream carpet before peeking into the kitchen – its door ajar, revealing only a small sliver of the preparation area. He tapped the cheap plywood lightly and it swung farther inward, missing a small, round table that had been erected by mere inches.
"Who the hell are you?"
His hand slid into his pocket as he turned and came face to face with the disheveled LJ.
LJ was holding a bag of chips in his hands, an incredulous eyebrow raised at T-Bag. The bag crinkled as LJ removed his hand from inside it, wiping the salt and grease off on his pants.
T-Bag was fingering the switchblade, waiting for the right moment to lunge, because if his timing wasn't just so, LJ would escape, and T-Bag would preferably not have to chase the boy.
"Didn't you hear me? Who the hell are you?" he repeated, scowling and making slow shuffling movements with his feet, looking as though he prepared to run if he had reason to deem the man standing in the kitchen threshold a threat.
Which, considering the fact that T-Bag had just broken in, he probably did.
"I – I'll call the cops."
There was something like fear coating LJ's words, betraying the fearless persona he was attempting to put up.
The switchblade felt comfortable in his grip and T-Bag longed to wield it, to threaten the teenager still waiting for his answer.
"I don't think you will, actually."
He stepped forward – the bringing of his foot up and a small distance ahead done casually.
Though, apparently, the rest of his demeanor said nothing in regards to nonchalance, because as LJ's eyes widened and the boy dropped his chips, his legs and feet going through the motions related to running for one's life, the switchblade was released from its prison in T-Bag's pocket and flicked open – an empty sounding click, the perfect companion to the cold steel, glinting with the light from the incandescent bulb perched on the ceiling above.
T-Bag moved with finesse, his expert hands reaching out to grab the boy's neck and pull it against the blade, his feet flying forward with his legs, supplying the force that would pin LJ against the wall –
But LJ moved faster and T-Bag was forced to proceed in the chase.
"Oh LJ!" The words slipped off T-Bag's tongue with something akin to concern and innocence, a certain form of seduction underlying them as he stalked the woods and continued calling out for the boy, waiting to hear panting or whimpering – anything that would help T-Bag in locating his prey.
"Come out, come out, wherever you are . . ."
His words were soft, gentle – a near futile attempt at being what one could call motherly.
T-Bag paused near an imposing oak tree, standing in its shadow, listening.
The leaves above him rustled with the wind as it blew a chilly air through the woods. The normal nighttime sounds were relaxing and put T-Bag at ease, a smile claiming his lips.
He leaned against the oak, careful that his actions made no erroneous sounds differing from the rest of the woods, and waited.
An hour ticked its slow way by as T-Bag's legs burned with protest in holding him up in one position for so long – he refused to allow them the smallest break, even one consisting of merely slipping silently down the oak's trunk and plopping onto the grass below momentarily.
He couldn't sit down. Not yet. He would lose focus if he did, and he's perfectly content in standing uncomfortably beneath a tree for as long as is necessary, because he knew if he didn't, he could, quite possibly, lose the chance of kidnapping LJ with that simple gesture of kindness in response to his legs' complaining.
He's rewarded, barely minutes later, with the sound of breaking twigs and a curse slipping from the young mouth of the boy he's been waiting patiently for.
LJ staggered past him, weary and bedraggled, just when T-Bag was falling into the slow cycle of thoughts revolving around what ifs and the small, dull wonder of whether or not LJ had slipped past his notice and made it back to the house to call his father and uncle.
He flicked the switchblade back open – slowly, muting the click as the blade snapped into place by pressing it against his thigh – and lunged, catching the shocked boy around the waist and pinning him to the ground.
LJ cried out and kicked his legs, scrambling to beseech T-Bag from atop him and failing miserably as T-Bag jabbed him in the back with an elbow and slipped the switchblade against his throat.
"You goin' to come quietly, or am I goin' to have to acquaint you with how it feels to have your throat cut?"
"Who . . . who are you?" is all LJ manages to gasp before the switchblade begins digging into his Adam's apple, drawing a thin line of blood.
T-Bag grinned idly to himself, considering his answer carefully.
"Just the man you need."
"Thought I told you not to bother me again."
"You did." T-Bag pushed past the doctor, walking across the living room and into the spare bedroom before dumping the unconscious LJ onto the bed, quickly snapping the handcuffs around the boy's wrist and onto the bedframe.
"Who's the kid?"
The doctor was pressed up behind him, staring over his shoulder at LJ's disheveled form.
T-Bag sucked in his bottom lip, savoring the slight coppery taste that washed over his taste buds as he opened an old wound with his teeth.
"My bargaining chip."
The doctor tilted his head, curiously eyeing T-Bag from his peripheral before tugging on his former patient's arm.
"C'mon, asshole. I expect you'll be here for a few days."
"Few weeks, I'd say." T-Bag allowed himself to be pulled from the room and down the hall. He smirked at the doctor's errant disregard for manners and quickened pace toward his own bedroom.
"You haven't had a woman in quite awhile, have ya, Doc?" T-Bag quipped, once he'd pinned the doctor to the wall and cupped his chin with his fingers – the hand that the sour doctor had replanted, skimming along the man's side before resting on his waist.
"Fuck you," were the last coherent words the doctor growled for the rest of the night.
"God has a funny way of letting bad things happen to generally good people, doesn't he? Ain't gonna hurt yo' boy 'less I have to, though he might be a little less than what he was when I found him. Fate has a funny way of making sure that what goes around comes around, I'm afraid.
"I'll send him back to ya in a few weeks if I feel like it. Maybe the hand, too."
Silence befell the two men as the younger finished reading the note that had been left.
A guttural growl escaped the older's throat, along with a loud, "Godfuckingdammit!"
The younger placed a hand on the older's shoulder, murmuring with convicted assurance, "We'll find him."