A/N: Wishing a Happy New Year to one and all! In my eager anticipation for the premiere of "Breakout Kings" Season 2, I offer a short little fic to ring in 2012. I admit to taking some liberties with a few details of the story, so please don't throw flames at me for it. I'm also still working on keeping everyone in character, so be gentle with any criticisms. Thank you in advance.

Title: And a Happy New Year to You Too

Summary: A New Year. New Challenges to face. New accomplishments to be made. New fugitives to catch. Here we go again.

Characters: Lloyd Lowry, Erica Reed, and Shea Daniels

Rating: T for mild language

Disclaimer: I do not own any characters associated with "Breakout Kings". Characters and overall concept for the series belong to their respective owners.


"Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits."

~ Author Unknown

"Sweet Jesus, what I would give for an ice-cold beer right about now..."

"Wishful thinking," Erica scoffed quietly, fingers skillfully wrapping her dark hair into a thick braid, "Ray and Charlie already let us get boozed once, Shea...don't push it."

"Speaking of which," the dark-skinned man replied, shifting to a semi-comfortable position (sitting on metal seats with guards overlooking your every move denied a person any real sense of comfort), "it's been weeks—maybe months for all I know...why haven't Mom and Dad pulled us out yet?"

Erica rolled her eyes, tucking away an amused smirk at the thought of either Marshal's face should they hear themselves referred to in that way. "Try checking the news sometime, Shea...there hasn't been a breakout since Vega."

Shea muttered something inaudible (and more than likely, a bit impolite) under his breath, "Couldn't even get one for a Christmas gift...you'd think at least someone would take advantage of the holidays and bust out."

"If you wanted a vacation so bad," she returned briskly, "why didn't you do it?"

"And blow my gig just after I got in hot water with the bosses?" he shot back, "Not on your life, sweetheart."

"Call me sweetheart one more time, and you'll be worrying about your life, Shea."

The argument was nipped at the bud by a distinct clearing of the throat as Lloyd began dealing out cards from the deck he'd been shuffling for the last ten minutes. "Let's keep this game and conversation friendly, alright?"

"Took you long enough, bro." Shea shook his head, scooping up his cards in one hand, "Trying to memorize who's getting which cards?"

Lloyd gave him a look. "I do not need to cheat, thank you very much." He replied with a dignified sniff, "I could—"

"—play this game in your sleep." Erica and Shea finished in unison. Both rolled their eyes while Erica finished arranging her cards, then she looked up at the ex-professor with a smile that belonged on the face of a well-fed cat. "Start putting your genius where your mouth is, Lloyd."

The argument fell forgotten while the three cons mulled over their cards, the silence broken only for a brief word about "call" or "raise" before resuming. The guards watched the events carefully, but were more likely concerned with allowing a female inmate in the male recreation room, even if only for an hour, than the card game. "Special privileges" from the female facility's warden weren't enough to ease overwhelming feelings of unease, particularly when concerning three convicts who shared work release privileges...at the same "job", nonetheless. Who knew what conspiracies might be discussed over cards?

Naturally, there were no conspiracies or other such sources of paranoia being discussed among the trio. The thick layer of tension lingering over their activities, however, did not go unnoticed. It did go very unappreciated.

"Anyone else feeling like a pack of monkeys in the zoo?" Shea muttered, tapping his fingers idly while Erica shuffled the deck.

"Maybe we would make them happy if we started dancing on the tabletops." Lloyd commented, only to earn himself a low chuckle from his companions.

"Lloyd," Erica stated with a wicked little smile, "I will pay all my prison savings if you follow through on that. And I'll even throw in a few extra dimes to soothe the inevitable damage to your pride."

"I hear that," Shea grinned, "So let's see it. Show us some of those Dancing King moves, Professor."

Lloyd glared at them both, only receiving some relief when Erica finished shuffling and looked up at her co-workers, "Alright, guys," she said, "what do you want to play now?"

"How about a round of good ol' B.S.?" Shea offered, nodding at Lloyd, "I want to see if his poker face is all he's cracked it up to be."

A mutual nod of agreement followed from the other two, and the game rapidly progressed into a far less serious affair, particularly when Shea was left holding little under the whole deck and looking quite displeased about it. Dark eyes glowered at Lloyd's rather smug look, "You're cheating." He accused.

"Am not." Lloyd replied smoothly, laying down his final two cards, "Two fours."

"Seriously?" Shea lifted his cards with a dramatic gesture and an equally indignant huff, "Of all the cards I've got..."

"Those would be the two you do not." Lloyd answered, folding his hands behind his back. "Go ahead and call it if you'd like."

Shea narrowed his eyes and began the tedious process of shuffling through his bulging hand of cards. Five minutes passed, filled with him shifting and grumbling while Erica and Lloyd exchanged an equally amused look. Finally, Shea's head shot back up, his glare in full force and his indignation blatant. "You've got to be kidding me..." he scowled, depositing the mess in Erica's waiting hands.

Lloyd's grin grew wider, if possible. "Another round?"

"Not with you."

Erica shook her head, "Come on, Shea," she smirked, "You made the bed, now you can lie in it. Admit defeat like a big boy and move on."

He only glared at both of them, muttering comments under his breath that sounded suspiciously like "two goddamn fours" and "of all the cards left". Erica and Lloyd just gave each other another look while the former began to shuffle again. Her attention was cut short by Lloyd's voice calling for her and Shea, eyes firmly trained on the mounted television.

"Hey, Parker," Shea called to the nearest guard, gesturing to the screen, "turn it up?"

The guard complied, obviously seeing no harm in some cons taking interest in the local news, and soon the reporter's voice could be heard, "...but sources have confirmed the escape occurred sometime early this morning. We are still waiting for further updates from involved law enforcement agencies and will keep our viewers notified."

A sharp whistle ran throughout the recreation room, "Daniels! Lowry! Reed!" a guard beckoned from the doorway, "Work release, now!"

A brief pause followed, and then a broad smile was shared by the aforementioned convicts. Shea shifted again in his seat, idly turning away from the table and towards the guard before pushing himself onto his feet. Lloyd rolled his shoulders in a casual gesture and flexed his fingers while rising from his seat. Erica calmly set the cards down and extended her arms in a catlike stretch, the spark of adrenaline and the prowess of a true hunter returning to her demeanor as she stood up to join her companions.

"Happy New Year, boys," she murmured, eyes gleaming as she briefly clasped her hands around their shoulders and tucked them in close to offer a final whisper, "Here we go again."