Oh, my beautiful, shiny Prison Break box set, how I love thee. And how I love S3 in particular :-)Title
: Prison BreakPairing
: Up to 3.9 'Boxed In'Notes/Warnings
: Dialogue taken direct from the show. Unbetaed -- nitpicks & crit very welcome. Summary
: What she sees in that prison breaks her heart.
What she sees in that prison breaks her heart.
Sona is everything she'd heard, and worse. The building is filthy and decrepit, the conditions appalling. Nobody in authority seems to care because they have decreed these men to be animals, but what does it say about them, that they're willing to be a party to this? She's a long way from convinced that the savages are the ones inside the walls.
The Alex Mahone she knew was organised, elegant, in both his work and appearance. He was methodical, precise, exact. Alex Mahone was order, he was discipline, he was integrity. He was what she aspired to be.
The wreck of a man who shuffles towards her from the other side of the chainlink fence is no-one she recognises. His clothes are grimy, stained with sweat and dirt and who knows what else. His skin is sallow and unshaven, his unkempt hair matted with the red dust that seems to get deep into the pores of everything in this godforsaken place.
'I was in the neighbourhood,' she says, because the words she wants to say are stuck in her throat along with the dust.
He smiles at her lame joke, but he has trouble meeting her eyes. He's edgy, his body in constant restless motion while a series of unreadable expressions flit across his face. She switches to professional mode; an efficient presentation of the facts, the deal that she brokered and all but blackmailed Sullins into going along with. She thinks that maybe her manner, this reminder of protocols and standard procedures, will bring out the same in him. Bring back her Alex. She hopes so, because she doesn't think she can stand to watch this poor, broken copy for much longer.
She delivers the pièce de résistance
-- eight years -- and waits. To a certain extent, yes, she expects -- wants -- to see gratitude. For him to recognise what she's done, to be thankful. But most of all, she just wants to see a sign that her Alex Mahone is still alive.
The sign doesn't come.
She didn't always understand his thought processes before, but that was because she couldn't always keep pace with the connections he could make, the intuitive leaps he could pull out of nowhere. But this time, when he responds, 'I can't do eight years,' she can't make herself believe it's because she's the one a few steps behind.
'You're doing ten now,' she says, torn between wanting to be gentle and to reach through the fence and shake him. He tells her that he appreciates her efforts but it's as if he's simply reciting something from memory. There's no sense that the words actually mean anything to him. And if that's true then they don't mean anything to her, either.
She gives up on gentle and lays it out straight for him. 'Without this deal, you are going to be in prison for the rest of your life.'
But either he doesn't hear or doesn't understand, because he just shakes his head and turns his back on her.
She comes back with Sullins. She hadn't wanted to do that -- hadn't wanted to witness the fool's repellent delight in himself and his own superiority. Schadenfreude is an ugly thing.
But she's out of options; she doesn't know what else to do. So she gives Sullins his moment of glory even though it turns her stomach, lets him deliver what has to be -- dear god please, it has to be -- the decider: four years. It's a good deal. A great deal. As long as Alex can deliver. Looking at him like this, she begins, for the first time, to feel doubt.
But she pushes that from her mind, because finally, finally, Alex sees sense. He takes the deal.
When he walks out through the gates, she's waiting. It's not until they're in the back of the van, when she sees his reaction to Sullins's cheap shot --'Unless someone else is offering you a get-out-of-Sona-free card?' -- that she gets it.
Of course. She should have known. It all, always, came back to Scofield. He might not be the actual start of it, but he's what did the real damage. Scofield is why Alex was put in Sona, and Scofield is the reason he doesn't want to leave it. She doesn't know whether to laugh or cry.
She settles for telling Sullins to drive faster.
What she hears in that hotel room breaks her heart.
She's thrilled, at first, because she thinks it's her Alex she's talking to. Clean-shaven and dressed in a suit, he's looking out of the window when she enters the room. He looks calm, collected. It makes her believe that this is actually going to work, that they're going to get through it.
Overconfidence is clearly something she still needs to work on.
He thinks she's playing him, that she's Sullins's pawn, gathering information to use against him. She's heard him give that contemptuous little snort before, but it's never been directed at her. It constricts her chest, makes it hard to breathe.
'That's not what this is,' she says, and it's meant to be an opening, but he doesn't take it. He's too caught up in his conspiracy theory, too keen to explore what he seems to think is some kind of set up. If he'd taken what was supposed to be his cue, if he'd just asked her, she would have told him. She would have told him exactly what this was, what it meant -- what he
meant -- to her. But by the time he appeals to her directly, to their shared history, it's too late.
She's never liked her first name -- she went by surname alone long before she became an agent -- but his voice makes it beautiful. She's heard him say it, in dreams, in fantasies, so many times. Heard it said with passion, tenderness, need.
When she finally hears him say it for real, it's with anger. But it doesn't matter, because she's not Felicia right now anyway. She's Agent Lang, and she knows the unstable, self-serving rant of a junkie when she hears it. He has the grace to look ashamed, but it doesn't make her feel any better. At least he doesn't say her name again.
She's grateful for the delay in getting the hearing arranged; it gives her time to get herself together.
It doesn't work that way for Alex. He's coming apart with every passing hour, and she's only surprised that Sullins hasn't worked out what's really going on with him. Or perhaps she's still setting her expectations a little high. Working with Alex -- the real Alex -- somewhat spoiled her for other agents.
When she hears him plead with Sullins not to wait, hears him start out begging and then lose his temper -- familiar patterns indeed -- it takes everything she has not to walk out of that room and keep walking. But Sullins still has no clue -- 'listen to yourself,' he tells Alex, but Sullins isn't listening at all. He isn't listening to that whispered, desperate 'I can't,' he doesn't know what it means. She does.
In the van, she'd said, 'just tell the truth and everything will be okay.' In her defence, she didn't know she was lying at the time.
She knows the truth. She always has, really. But that doesn't mean she wants to hear it. That doesn't mean she wants to hear him confess to murder. Shales was an evil son of a bitch, but even so. That isn't supposed to be who they are.
Like she'd told him, she grew up around users. Having got out, she swore she'd never be around one again. She knows what he's going through, she understands that pain -- but again, that doesn't mean she wants to hear about it.
She sits beside him on the bed anyway.
He tells her about the pills, which she'd known, and about Sona, which she'd suspected. 'I had to... improvise,' he says, and when his voice cracks on the last word she finally reaches out to touch him.
He doesn't even notice. 'I came here to help a man that I respect and care about,' she says carefully, willing him to hear her, but all she gets in return is that flat, rote response: 'I appreciate that.' He's not hearing anything except the scream of need running through his veins.
'Please,' he says, but she already knows she's going to do whatever he asks of her.
In the end, she's simply too late. The hearing is a disaster. He's rambling, unfocused, incapable of coherent answers. Sullins tries to rescue it but it's hopeless. She, and everyone else in the room, can see that.
She tries to take his hand when she tells him that it didn't work, but she can't quite get a grip -- she's not sure if it's the handcuffs or his pride getting in the way. Maybe both.
Sullins doesn't object when she offers to take Alex back to the prison. She can see that he's disgusted -- with Alex, with her, with the whole failure. He's already working on how to wash his hands of the affair as quickly and completely as possible.
She drives as slowly as she can without stalling the car, but eventually she has to accept that the journey is over. 'Part of me just wants to keep driving past these gates,' she says, and in that moment it's almost a large enough part to make her do it. To throw it all up, take him, and run.
But he won't let her, she knows that. She tries to hold him, but she can see his attention, his mind, has already left her and is back inside the gates. Part of him wants to be back in Sona, believes he deserves to be there. She thinks part of him never left there in the first place. He doesn't want her to sacrifice herself for him.
He doesn't want her at all.
She watches him walk inside, pass a glass box in the courtyard, exchange a look with the figure inside it. Scofield. Of course. It will always be Scofield.
She gets in the car and drives away. She's always faced facts, dealt with what is. Picked herself up and carried on with the work, with what she has to do.
Even when it breaks her heart.