Title: The Creation of Alternate Universes
Fandom: Prison Break
Notes: Takes place after the end of 4.10 'The Legend.'
Summary: When Michael & Alex start brainstorming, who knows where it could end up?
'So you're saying that they'll know, the minute anybody who weighs more than two pounds steps foot inside there, and the Company's hordes will come screaming down on our asses?' Lincoln runs a hand over his head. 'Man, we're screwed.'
Sucre claps him on the shoulder. 'We're going to do just fine.' He grins at Michael. 'Take a look at your brother. Is that the face of a man with a plan, or what? He knows what we need to do to beat this thing.'
'What are we going to do, fly? Are we going to grow wings? Is that the plan, Michael?'
Michael gives them both a smile. It's one he's practised a lot, one he's used on friends, allies and enemies alike. It's small, not much more than an upward quirk of the lips, and delivered slowly. It looks both relaxed and amused, a smile that tells you that whatever's just happened was not only expected but welcomed: just another part of the Grand Design falling into place. It tells you that Michael Scofield is always one step ahead, that he's worked out what's coming and already thought of fifteen different ways to turn it to his advantage. It inspires either relief or doubt and anxiety, depending on whether or not you're on his side, and although it's usually a complete bluff it also usually buys him some time.
Lincoln gives a little huff of breath that comes out sounding somewhere between exasperation and affection. 'All right,' he says. 'But if I'm going to fly I want to look cool, like -- like Batman. Not great flouncy angel wings, or something.'
Michael inclines his head in acknowledgement. 'No angel wings,' he says, straight-faced. ' All right, I think I can work around that.'
Sucre laughs. 'Come on, man, you'd make a great angel. I can just see you, all in white, little harp and everything. It'd be so cute.'
Michael heads for the door and doesn't catch whatever response Linc growls. Outside, he walks to the railing and leans on it, lowering his head and stretching out the muscles of his neck. They feel tense enough to snap.
Birds wheel overhead with harsh cries. 'Wings,' he says softly to himself, and gives a slightly shaky laugh.
Something changes behind him. He's not sure exactly what it is -- the sound of breath or footstep, air movement or just a quiver in whatever psychic link that seems to have sprung up between them. His neck, still arched, tingles as if anticipating the touch of a hand. 'Hey,' he says.
Alex comes around beside him and also leans on the rail, but the other way, facing inward. 'Hey.'
Michael straightens up but keeps his hands on the rail. 'So, do you have any particular request? For your wings? Because honestly, that's about as good a plan as anything else I've got, right now.' He lets his head drop again.
There's silence for a while. Then: 'I always kind of wanted jet boots,' Alex says. 'But since we've also got an issue of heat sensors, that's probably not practical.'
Michael turns his head and stares at him, but Alex just looks back calmly. Michael lets out a breath that turns into a snort that turns into something else, and before he can get it under control he's laughing, great whoops that shake his body and eventually leave him hanging weakly onto the rail for support as they trail off into irregular, spluttering hiccups.
'Better?' Alex asks mildly, and Michael nods. Bizarrely, he does feel better. Like something got shaken loose inside him.
'Right then,' Alex says. 'Tempting as the thought of Angel Lincoln is, I think maybe we'd better table that and move on to Plan B.' He glances upwards at the birds circling overhead before looking back at Michael. 'We can do this, you know. It's not impossible. Liquid nitrogen could regulate the temperature.'
Michael lets go of the rail and turns to face him. 'That's true. And the wall... the concrete... if it's reinforced with steel mesh and we could generate an electromagnetic field, it might...' he breaks off, because Alex is nodding.
'It might vibrate that concrete right out of our way. And if we can make a hole big enough, maybe we could create some sort of a platform, something so that we can slide across without having to touch the floor, and avoid the pressure sensors that way.'
Michael inhales sharply, his mind racing. 'Like a suspension bridge,' he breathes. 'Damn. It could work.'
Alex gives him a fierce grin. 'Of course it'll work. Okay, so now we're there, we've got Scylla in front of us. Glass cutter gets us right to it. And then...' He pauses, then raises his eyebrows at Michael. 'Your turn.'
Michael raises his hands to his face, transfixed by the images unfolding in his mind, the steps playing out in beautiful, inevitable sequence. He laughs again, giddy with the pleasure, the sheer rush of it.
Alex smiles. 'Genius at work,' he says softly, almost wonderingly. 'A damn fine thing to see. So, come on, don't keep me hanging. What happens next?'
And Michael can only fall back on the concept of a rush, of a drug coursing through his blood and scrambling his senses, because when he speaks he doesn't explain the last stages of the plan. Instead he moves closer to Alex and says, 'Do you mean with Scylla, or with us?'
Alex goes very, very still. Only his eyes move, as they search Michael's. 'Us?'
'Yes, Alex,' Michael says, eerily calm now. He takes another step forward. 'Us.'
'I don't think I understand,' Alex says, but the sudden huskiness in his voice belies his words. Michael watches his throat work as he swallows.
'Yes, you do,' he says, lifting his gaze to Alex's face. There's an expression on it that he doesn't recognise, and it takes him a second to place it: uncertainty. He doesn't think he's ever seen that look on Alex's face before. Even in Sona; Alex might have been on a path of self-destruction, but he'd at least seemed sure about it.
Now, there's something in Alex's eyes that looks confused, nervous, almost skittish. Michael doesn't like it. He moves closer still, too close, but Alex appears frozen in place. Michael wants to take that look out of his eyes, give him the certainty back, because Michael has seen it now, seen it all, and he knows how this is going to end.
With that surety for courage, he reaches up and cups Alex's face with his palm. Alex's breath hitches and his gives a tiny shake of his head, almost more tremble than movement.
'Michael,' he says, and his voice is so low Michael just has to lean in closer to hear him. 'Look -- I'm sorry, but if you're from some parallel universe where there's an Alex Mahone who knows just what the hell is supposed to be going on, here... ' He lets out a small, shaky laugh. 'I'm not him, okay? I'm not that Alex.'
Michael smiles. 'Maybe that's it. Isn't there a theory that says every time we make a decision an alternate reality splits off to let the other choice play out too?' His hand slides around the back of Alex's neck, fingers lightly playing over the hair at the nape. 'So that means there's a universe where we laugh this off and forget it ever happened. But that means there's also one...' he begins to pull Alex towards him, gently but firmly. 'Where we don't.'
He stops, his gaze locked on Alex's, his hand still. 'Which one do you want to be in, Alex?'
'I --' Alex says, but goes no further. His lips move but no sound comes out.
'All right,' Michael says. 'In Universe A, Michael walks away and Alex lets him go. They never mention it again. Universe B's Alex, however, is altogether smarter and more self-aware.' He smiles again, drops his hand and steps back. When Alex still doesn't move, he turns and walks back to the warehouse.
It's at least fifteen minutes before Alex returns. Lincoln looks up and nods when he opens the door, then frowns. 'Hey. Mahone. You okay? You look a little... lost.'
Alex blinks and looks around slowly. 'I... yeah. Maybe.' His eyes seek Michael's. 'Is this universe B?'
Michael hides a smile behind his hand. 'Yeah. It is. Glad you could make it.'
Lincoln's frown deepens as he looks from one to the other. 'What the hell are you two on about?'
'The creation of alternate universes,' Michael says, still smiling.
'So, is that the plan to get Scylla, now?' Lincoln stares at him. 'Go to another dimension?'
Alex, still looking a little dazed, walks to the far end of the room. Michael gets up and follows him, without answering.
Lincoln turns to Sucre, holding out his hands. Sucre grins at him, and shrugs. 'Genius, madness. It's a fine line, bro. You never heard that?'
Lincoln rolls his eyes. 'What the hell. I never liked the idea of wings anyway.'