A place to start ...

Michael, Sara and Linc are still on the run and sharing a motel-room for the night. The brothers have a much needed conversation. Linc has a few words with Sara and finally Sara and Michael have a little heart to heart. Answers are exchanged. Mostly Sara POV.

Spoilers for 2x16 Chicago and goes AU after that...The story assumes their day ends after the episode. Then they head towards their motel for the night...

Disclaimer: All characters and situations from 'prison break' are properties of Paul Scheuring in association with 20th Century Fox Television. No copyright infringement intended.

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PART 1

"Some choices we live not only once but a thousand times over, remembering them for the rest of our lives." – Richard Bach

It looked like any cheap motel room. And smelled like it too. Seventies patterned curtains, two double sized beds covered in blankets that looked like grandma herself had knit them. But still it was a place to rest, a place to call 'home' even if it was just for the night. Sara had to think hard to remember when she had last been 'home', much less 'at home' somewhere. She'd gotten used to the emptiness inside, the feeling of being on the run. At times, perhaps, it felt like she'd been on the run her whole life instead of two weeks. Always in between things to come and things past, looking, searching but never finding what she was looking for.

So when they stepped inside the doorway and looked around, Sara felt a strange sense of relief. At least they'd made it this far, safe and still together. It had been a very long and exhausting day. They'd been through the ringer, escaped just in time. But Sara knew and felt that what really drained her energy today was not the chase, not the bad guys catching onto them. It was seeing the bad guy who had haunted her dreams ever since he had tried to kill her. Seeing Kellerman again had started a rage and a fury inside of her that she barely recognised as her own. That reminded her of the rage she'd felt before and that could only be contained by the lulling lies of her morphine friend. She could barely believe what she'd tried to do on the train. And then there were the good guys... she'd felt so cold when she learned of Michael and Linc being captured again. She'd felt so helpless and alone that no matter how hard she tried to numb the pain, to forget why she was on the run...in the end she just couldn't. And she'd spent countless hours in her motel room thinking, pondering and replaying everything that had happenend... at Fox River, before the escape and everything after. When she'd recieved Michael's message on tv she just couldn't believe it. Thought she was seeing things at first and then she noticed the code...the message.

That night she remembered one of the conversations she had with Michael at Fox River. She was saying something to him about cynicism and realism. She remembered Michael saying: 'and then there's optimism, hope, faith'. Back then she had thought it was so funny and out of context that she had replied 'This coming from and eight-toed man locked up in a pennitentiary'. And when he said that 'toes were overrated' she'd known he was serious. That night after the message, she started to have faith. Faith in the man she didn't know wether to love or hate. Hope, that maybe there was a way out of this mess after all. Optimism, that no matter how cynical, that some things were very real.

Seeing Michael at the train station, had 'almost' felt like home. For a moment, there was no anger, no ambiguity, no doubts, no pain...just breathing and feeling and living. Being safe, feeling safe wrapped up in the arms of America's most wanted con. For a moment, she could almost forget everything. For a moment, there was just relief to be there with him. And when she let go and looked up at him.. she knew he'd felt it too. He smiled about her hair and she'd felt nervously self-conscious. And then she looked at the other good guy, Lincoln. Suddenly even though she'd felt the weight of the world and the reality of their situation come crushing back on her shoulders and she stil couldn't believe the trouble she was in, 'they' were in...she'd also known that she'd done the right thing. No matter what the consequences of her actions and their escape might be, Michael's intentions for saving his brother were true, were just, were right. And so was her decision to help them. Because in the end, she didn't want to be cynical, she wanted to hope that there was a chance for justice, for the truth, for brotherly love. She knew she did the right thing and she was prepared to face the consequences and fight back.

She'd felt Lincoln look at her at the train station. Freedom looked really good on him. This man was what had started this whole mess and he didn't deserve this. His whole life ruined, his family ruined. She couldn't even imagine what these brothers had been through. Then they told her about their 'guest' and she felt panick rise in the pit of her stomach. She immediatly felt Michael's searching eyes on her, full of concern and heard Lincoln's quiet cough at her frozen stance. Then she told them about her little meet-and-greet with 'Lance' aka Kellerman. For a second she doubted wether she'd made the right decision coming to meet Michael and Lincoln, wondering what part of their plan she would be this time, if she really could trust them at all. But those thoughts were short lasted. She recognized the internal struggle in the brother's eyes. They were looking at each other and back at her. Their silent communication didn't reveal everything but enough for Sara to understand that Kellerman wasn't exactly their best friend either.

Kellerman or not, she had admitted to herself the night she got 'Michael Crane' on the phone that she wanted to be with Michael, that she needed to be. She couldn't change the past, she couldn't pretend the situation wasn't as dangerous and uncertain as it really was. It didn't matter though, in the end the truth couldn't be denied or hidden. She cared about Michael, from day one. A kind of caring that went beyond professionalism, in the end even beyond all rational thought. A kind of caring that had awoken something in her heart so honest, so real that she knew she couldn't keep denying it. Sure, there was anger, hurt, betrayal in there too. She wouldn't forgive him overnight and he still had some serious explaining to do. The question marks were everywhere and her heart and head were still in constant battle. But in all the long hours she had to herself thinking since she was on the run from Kellerman and the people trying to kill her she'd come to some conclusions and she felt stronger now, more in control.

When they made sleeping arrangements for the night, Michael had insisted that Kellerman slept in a seperate room. Lincoln had backed him up saying that they needed some time alone. The last had been reluctant but in the end he gave in. His suspicions and distrust of being left on his own couldn't outweigh the anxiousness that sleeping in the same room with 3 people angry enough to kill him without any regret, was enough encouragement for him to take the next room and sleep alone. I guess my little 'outburst' on the train helped convince him to stay away from me and the two men who had my back.

The door closed behind us with a loud click and an uncomfortable silence followed for just a few seconds. Then I just dropped my bag on the bed furthest away from the door and let myself fall flat on my back on the bed and released the breath I had been holding. It felt so good to just relax and not have to be on my guard for a minute and I instantly started wriggling to find a better position. Lincoln muttered a humourful 'make yourself at home, Sara' at my efforts and I couldn't help but smile a genuine smile at his reply as I watched Michael's features relax a little at the scene before him. The men dropped their bags on the same double bed closest to the door. A small part of me was suddenly very disappointed at that fact; then again things were hard enough already that the last thing we needed was bed adventures of any kind to make things even more complicated. Michael looked over at me with a very uncharacteristic uncertain and shy look on his face. I understood though and gave him a small smile getting to a sitting position on the bed. Lincoln was kicking off his boots, trying to get comfortable himself. He looked at Michael and again there it was, that silent communication thing. It wasn't the first time I'd noticed it. Even at Fox River with a number of guards, plexiglass and bars in between them, they didn't need words to connect or to convey meaning. Not for the first time, I wondered what kind of bond these two brothers really had. Lincoln then said

'Why don't you take the shower first Sara? Ladies first and all that...'

I chuckled at his remark but didn't decline the offer. I grabbed my bag and headed towards the small badroom. Locking the door behind me, I found myself alone and looking in the mirror once again seeing my reflection. As I started to undress and turn on the shower, my thoughts wondered back to that other bathroom I'd been in today. A small blush crept to my cheeks as I stared at my reflection. He had kissed me...again. Just like I'd wanted him too... like I needed him too. To make me believe that there was faith, to make me believe that there was a chance for us. I guess being around Kellerman got me on the edge and pushed me to take some kind of control back over what happened to me. I didn't regret trying to kill him or at least hurt him, but I did surprize myself in doing so. I wondered if I had also surprized Michael. Though he didn't seem to care at all about Kellerman or what I did...he did care about me and how I was doing. When I let him come into the bathroom, I knew I had to say something before too much would come in between us again. Last time I saw him things went very wrong afterwards. 'Time to put my cards on the table'...I had made up my mind before taking the train to Chicago. So I laid it all out there on that very thin line... anxious about his feelings, scared that he might in fact not feel the same way and horrified that I might just be a piece of the puzzle, a part of the plan.

I stepped under the hot water and let it cleanse my skin...soothe my tired limbs... I could still remember every detail of how Michael looked at me after I told him I had fallen in love with him. The intensity, the seriousness, the pure focus of that look made me shiver all over again. It wasn't a romantic moment, it wasn't a even a passionate moment...it was just a very honest and tentative moment. Like time had slowed down and everything that was left in the world were those two eyes looking at me, looking through me...such sorrow in those eyes, such pain and finally so much love that at the first touch of his lips, I felt myself falling all over again. I lathered up with soap luxuriously, cheap motel soap and shampoo but still it felt heavenly. I quickly got out of the shower, not wanting to take up all the hot water. As I was drying myself off, I picked up some bits and pieces of the conversation in the next room. At first I didn't mean to listen to what they were saying, but I couldn't help myself to wonder what they were talking about when no one was around.

'Michael, I'm serious' I heard Lincoln say. 'I haven't said anything about it the past few days cause I knew you were worried about Sara, but you need to get some sleep tonight. You haven't been sleeping for over a week. Even for you that's too much!!'

'I'm fine Linc ..' Michael started answering.

'No you're not fine. You haven't been sleeping at all... you can't keep doing this. I've seen with the LLI can do to you. Sooner or later you'll hurt yourself or simply crash. Look, I know you've been worried about Sara for a long time on top of everything else, but she's fine now so you can let it go. She's here with us, with you... she's safe. At least try to get some sleep tonight.' He sounded very pleading.

Michael made some kind of grunting noise which seemed to both annoy and humour Linc because he started replying...

'God Michael, if I catch you tonight lying awake and looking at her sleeping, you're going to be in a hell of a lot of trouble. I don't pretend to completely understand your feelings for her, but I know enough to know that you're already in a lot of trouble.' Linc was laughing now as well. Didn't figure him to be so talkative...

'You can't really blame me for that, huh?' Michael intermitted.

'Guess I can't, no... if Vee was here, I'd probably have you on my back as well.' The laughter died away and a small pauze ensued. Then Lincoln added 'But I know you are near the breaking point of what even you can take, you need your rest and if you don't do it yourself, I'll spill my guts to the Doc and you'll be in even more trouble, if that's still possible. Cause you might not listen to me, but she'll make you listen to her if I tell her what you've been going through.' He sounded both teasing but with a seriousness that wasn't to be mocked with. Interesting that Lincoln thought I had anything to say over Michael at all...

'Ok, you win...I'll try to get some sleep... I want to sleep but it's just...' He groaned again, frustrated.

'Nightmares?' Lincoln asked in a very low voice.

'Not just when I sleep anymore; I just have to close my eyes and it's all there...everything. Even when I'm wide awake... if I don't push it back.' Michael sounded completely drained, even a bit desperate. I'd never heard Michael so defeated before. He sighed... I heard one of them start pacing and then Lincoln...

'How long has it been like that?'

'A while now...' Michael answered and Lincoln sniffed...'after I came into Fox River'

'Stupidest thing you ever did with all that brain of yours' Lincoln scoffed, obviously feeling guilty.

'It's not the prison life, Linc, I could take that.' It was Michael pacing... he stopped not too far away from the bathroom door so I could hear him a lot louder now...he continued 'first it was images of you getting executed, images of the plan with every hitch and misstep not planned...' he paused and took a deep breath and loudly exhaled...'then Sara, at the riot cornered in the infirmary...every suspicious look she ever gave me, the hurt in her eyes when I told her about the plan.'

'You told her about the plan before we got out?' Lincoln asked incredulous and continued '...oh man, knowing that she could spill the beans on us and go to the Pope with everything, you still told her.' They pauzed... and Michael continued so silently that I had to strain to hear the words.

'I couldn't not tell her. I couldn't lie to her anymore than I had already...couldn't do that to her. Didn't want to either...' He sighed ...

'Guess she was never part of the plan, huh?'

'No, never. The infirmary was a means to an end but Sara... Sara was everything I didn't plan and I never could have planned either.'

'Figures...' Lincoln laughed.

'Why'd you say that?' Michael asked, sounding a bit amused as well.

'Figures that the last place on earth where you can fall in love, under the least possible circumstances, you did just that little bro...' He pauzed again, then added in a very serious tone.

'How far would you go for her?'

'All the way' Michael replied immediatly. 'If she'll let me.' He sighed.

'Thought so...' He laughed. 'You are in a lot of trouble, Mike, but it's the good kind of trouble this time.' They both chuckled.

'I'm really sorry about Vee, Linc. I didn't get a chance before to tell you.' Michael continued in a sad voice.

'Yeah'

'She...you were the love of her life. Despite what happened before. She never stopped loving you, you know that.'

'I do... I finally do know that.' Lincoln quietly said. 'But it took me too long, waisted too much time. Don't make that same mistake Michael. I know you're a saviour, but you're no fool... you planned this to the minute, you wouldn't risk all of it for just a girl...she's the girl, she's your girl. Just like Vee was mine.'

'Yeah' Michael murmured.

I realised I needed to get out of that bathroom... there were only so many things that could have kept me in there any longer. Though temped to hear more of their conversation, I wasn't sure I could handle to hear any more. I quickly cleaned out the wound on my arm, combed my hair and stepped out of the bathroom all the while making enough noise to make sure they heard me coming...