Part I of ?

We'll Piece This Together As We Go, or

(Some Burnt Bridges Cannot be Mended )

It's been a long time since I've seen her. I smile; every detail of her is perfect, like it always has been. Of course, at first I never noticed this perfection. Then I was too caught up in the plan to see if she was perfect; I needed her for her what she could bring to the plan. I used her and still suffer because of it.

I think in two directions at once. Sometimes I even write that way, but here my mind escapes me. I say it's been a long time, because for me it has been. In the world's time, it has only been days and she is still hiding out in the small apartment her father keeps in his name. The police haven't found her yet, though they are still searching, but my plan with Abruzzi has fallen through and once again I need her- need to use her.

Back to the beginning. I smiled as she opened the door. Perfect, like I've said. She looked through the chain lock at me before closing the door. I was relieved when the chain clattered against the doorpost and she opened the door for me. I hoped she knew that Linc was with me; knowing that sometimes he unsettles her, his presence made me feel guilty. I suppose it takes time to be comfortable with a Death Row inmate.

"Michael-" she stops short upon seeing my brother. Her voice is sad, desperate for truth; I can see that I've torn her world apart. "Lincoln." She adds to be polite. From the corner of my eye, I see him nod a briefly to her.

She motioned for us to enter and we do so quickly. She shut the door and locked it quickly. I saw her face for an instant uncertain before she broke down and smiled at me. I grinned happily, too, but then remember T-bag and become still. Her face has fallen even more serious as she studied mine, but she invited us into her small living room despite these obvious suspicions.

I want her to make us leave before I hurt her again. It pains me that I know she won't do such a thing. Even if she is angry at me she'll talk it over- it's how she handles life.

Lincoln wondered off to the living room to give us some privacy. I still laugh at the thought- you'd understand if ever you saw this apartment- but it was a large gesture of trust on his part and I appreciated it.

At once Sara turned on me. "Michael, you never said there would be more than two people going out that window. You lied to me!"

I sighed. "I know." She looked at me in disbelief, eyes so hurt by my admission that I couldn't look into them. I looked to the counter: four pieces of mail, two paperback books, one key ring with five keys on it, a brown leather purse, and the teakettle about to boil from the other side of the kitchen. "I know I lied," I repeated, "but it wouldn't have been possible without them."

"Thanks to your lies, Michael, I let T-bag out. Do you know what he's capable of?" The kettle was steaming loudly and she moved for it simply as a distraction from her anger toward me.

I thought about T-bag, his threats and his slick way of carrying them out. I wanted to tell her all about what I know him capable of, but I didn't because it will have only make her even more sick with herself. Instead, I just nodded and said, "Yes, I do know," and wondered if she could tell that I was holding something else back about him.

She set out two mugs and made tea. I sat silently at the small table she had in the kitchen, amazed that I was in her apartment. I thought about one of the first conversations I had with her.

"You know I am going to take you out to dinner," I found myself saying to lighten the mood, but she wanted none of that.

"Wait until you're not on the Ten Most Wanted List, Michael," she said with a sigh and looked at me. I could see her mind churning, beginning to see past my casual intrusion. Finally, she said it. "What do you need?"

"Abruzzi fell through in his deal." I tried to keep my voice level like I had in prison, to keep my control on the situation which is snowballing quickly. Something in me shouted out not to ask it of her, that she'd been through too much on my account already, but I ignored it. "I guess I'm asking for a ride. Don't worry, it's not a long haul."

She was so doubtful, stirring the steaming tea with an anxious touch. I could see the mental turmoil in her flickering eyes, knowing before she did what the answer would be. I sighed before she even said it. "I can't help you anymore, Michael. It's just too much on my conscious."

"I understand." I nod solemnly. There it was- the truth. The pain was still raw underneath her skin; I wanted to find a way to make it better but couldn't bring myself to reach out for her hand. Mine are so stained in blood that she wouldn't have wanted to touch them anyway.

But I could see that the harm had already been done; she thought I only care about using her. I cursed myself, but it was too late even then to turn back. I felt the bridge starting to crumble and pulled back from her. I went to the living room and woke my brother. "Come on, Lincoln. We've stayed our welcome."

He looked at me for a moment in confusion then understood. He sighed heavily and rubbed his forehead, a habitual tic when he is stressed. I moved to pull him up and the cuffs fell from my sleeve; Linc and I froze as Sara walked into the room and finally saw the blood she must have overlooked earlier.

"Whose blood is that?" she asked as Linc and I started toward the door. I close my eyes, don't want to see her face as I pass by, and she is demanding an answer. "Whose blood?"

The pain and doubt in her voice are painful to hear. Knowing that she thinks I've killed someone, I just want to escape it. "Shouldn't have come," I murmur quietly.

"Don't say that Michael." Linc has always been good to me, even when we were children. He seemed to know what I was thinking. "You tried." He pushed me out the door, where I stay staring at the cracking wall paint while he tries to explain the blood to Sara in his own gruff manner. I barely heard him, and then he came out and grabbed me by my arm.

"What did you tell her, Linc?" I find myself asking in a panicked voice as he whisks me to street level. "I didn't know he was going to do it, Abruzzi. Really, I didn't!"

"It was just T-bag anyway, Michael."

"But, Linc, he's still a person," I try to persuade, but my brother has seen a lot more evil in this world than I have, and T-bag is evil. He accepts it and doesn't look for reasons behind it anymore.

He shushed me and pulled me along. Somewhere we found a car and hit the road. It wasn't long before we were in the midst of my backup plan and I had my mind full of ways to make this escape work.

It wasn't until a few days later that I learned Sara had overdosed the same night we were there. Lincoln had tried to keep it from me, but Bellick ruined his plans. He and Geary told me she had tried to escape prosecution. I knew, however, that it had been because of me. I had demanded too much of her and she had broken, unable to bear the guilty knowledge placed in her hands.

I've let too many bad things happen for the sake of freeing my brother. Would any of them forgive me? Allen, The guard during the riot, Mr. Pope, Roy Geary, Bellick, Westmoreland, Sara, and even T-bag. It keeps coming back to me in flashes, even now, how I let Abruzzi kill T-bag- how he is just one more burnt bridge that couldn't be mended.

I feel obligated to explain this piece. Rather than play the patient host and wait for people to ask me what the hell was going on in this story, I've decided to lay it out. We're dealing with an imaginary slice of time- perhaps a deleted scene- in which Michael visits Sara. It fits with the story plot if you make it, so use your imagination!

I disclaim here! And over… here I ask for some reviews on the story. Hope you enjoy! - M. Morgaine