Alexander had never thought he could’ve end up like that.
He had spent his life having to deal with the worst scum, he had stared pure evil in the eyes.
He had seen junkies and killers, and the junkies killers.
And then when he had seen one off them staring back at him from the mirror, he had wondered how the hell that had happened.
What was now of agent Alexander Mahone, but a nasty memory?
People stared at him in that place, and he didn’t know why.
Perhaps they stared at everybody that way, perhaps he was only imagining it, but he truly wanted for them to stop.
He wandered the yard without a true aim, just trying to bring his concentration to the point of making him find a solution to his problem.
He had lost everything, even his last hope to get out of Sona, if not with his head held high, at least walking without having to watch his back.
He understood Michael better, now.
And he understood Burrows and Sucre, and he understood Franklin and Bagwell.
And he also understood Abruzzi, Apolskis and Patoshik, but he didn’t want to think about them.
He was where he truly belonged, no matter what Lang thought, but as much as he deserved it he had still enough instinct of self-preservation to tell himself that he didn’t want to stay there any longer, that it wasn’t there he wanted to pay his debt, if he still had one to pay.
Alex was worried, sick.
Lost in his thoughts, he noticed too late the figure coming toward him, the walk strangely determined, the eyes high in front of him.
Mahone stopped for a brief moment, before redirecting his path to the inside, walking faster.
Bagwell stopped him close to his cell, calling him with that mocking voice of his that distinguished him so well.
“Alex, Alex, Alex...” he chanted, getting closer while the former federal agent sat on his bed. “You know, I’ve almost gotten scared when those dressed up feds took you away. You know, I truly do have some business acumen and let’s say that...” he passed the still attached to his arm hand between his hair, and Alex couldn’t help but shivering. “I was scared I had lost my golden goose.” he finished, then he touched the bag he wore, the same bag that Mahone was almost scared to watch, afraid of its content.
“Golden goose, Bagwell?” he forced himself to chuckle, failing miserably. “It didn’t seem that we were in business together, were we?”
T-Bag got even closer, getting far from the passageway and standing in front of him, leaning back against the wall.
“But we will, I reckon. Just like I thought you’ve enjoyed my little... gift.” he hissed. “They put some nice clothes on you, Alex, but we both know why you’re still in this place, don’t we? You can see that in your eyes, in your sweat, in the way your hands shiver. I imagine the feds didn’t have any use for a killer in full-on withdrawal, did they?” he said, fast enough as in hope to confuse him.
Oh, and Alex was confused.
He was confused by what he wanted and didn’t want to do, confused by his own body’s reactions, confused by what was coming for him.
He had seen Scofield in that cage under the sun and had felt even emptier than he could’ve imagined, keeping this feeling for himself when Whistler had told him that they would’ve left Sona anyway, just as planned.
They weren’t going to make it, he knew that. He knew because he had studied Michael, because he had forced himself to think like him, because during that exhausting manhunt he had gotten inside his head, and what he had seen there was enough to tell him that without him they had zero chances to get out unharmed.
They could try and die trying, and so if what awaited him was to be killed like a dog trying to escape, why was he still trying to resist what Bagwell was proposing.
He raised his eyes, while his irises contracted to the sunlight getting in from the window, lightening up the features of the man in front of him.
Mahone had become a part of all that was bad in the world, but he could never compare himself to Theodore Bagwell.
And now the felon was there with him, with the chance to make him feel better, to make him forget all that had gone down in that past month and a half.
Alex would’ve loved to have his drugs, but he knew he couldn’t allow himself to be picky in this circumstance.
“And even if I was to accept...” he started to say, hoarse, while T-Bag’s lips arched in a satisfied smile. “I’ve got nothing to give back, and I certainly can’t hope it to be free like last time, right? A gift, like you’ve said, and it’s been done to make me feel what I was missing out, Bagwell. What do you want from me now?”
He was afraid to hear the answer, because what a man like him could want was out of any scheme, and Alexander knew all too well, and he knew how the mere fact of having considered his proposal had taken away from him any bargaining advantage.
He was more horrifying than usual when he did.
“There are a bunch of things for which a man like you can be useful in Sona, you know Alex? There are people needin’ favours, people havin’ their necessities...” he stepped forward, still brushing on his head, still making him feel worse than ever. “I’m not so greedy as Lechero. I’m sure we can find a way to come to an agreement, right?”
Mahone stood up quickly, disgusted from him just as much as from himself.
“Do you believe that having something that you think I need gives you the right to make proposals, Bagwell?” he said, raising a hand to hit him, before realizing that he couldn’t be too sure of his body’s actions.
Bagwell looked at him with pure despise, raising a foot on his knee and pushing to make him fall back on the bed, staring at him as if he was a roach.
“Here we’re not in the U.S., we’re not in one of those nice offices of yours, with your fancy couches on which ya’ll feel like a king on a frickin’ throne. Here it’s Sona, mi amigo, and one like you here counts less than nothing, if he’s not gettin’ in someone’s good graces.” he smiled, spiteful, bending on his knees to have his eyes at the same height as his. “And as far as my proposals go, I think you misunderstood me. Ya’ll always do like this when you think you know who you’re dealin’ with, right? Ya’ll always think I want somethin’ from you, and can’t see how pathetic and disgusting you are.” he kept explaining, passing his tongue on his lower lip, nervous. “I wouldn’t put a finger on you even if I still had ten and not half of it, Alex. Right now, the way you look, I doubt there’s still someone who’d be willin’ to. The kind of favours I was talkin’ about, the kind of necessities no one could satisfy better than you in Sona...” he passed the good hand on his chin, pondering. “Our Goldilocks seems to have some trouble with Papa Bear, they say. And it happens that his Aussie friend has blurted out something about your permanence plans in Sona, so...” he got even closer, till his face was a few inches from Alex’s. “It looks like you and I are on the same side, after all. And I think it would be better if we didn’t drag with us a limpin’ and droolin’ dead weight in withdrawal, because if you mess with my plans, you won’t have the time to scream Scofield’s name before finding yourself with so much blood down your throat that...”
Alex never found out how that threat ended.
At first, in the dim light of the corner in the cell, it had looked as if it were Whistler’s hands the ones to pull Bagwell from his shirt’s collar.
When he managed to focus anyway, he realized that it was Michael, and opened his eyes wide.
He saw the youngest sending Bagwell against the wall, a hand around his throat, and faced him, turning his back on the former agent.
“It looks like I’m not out of the games after all, does it Bagwell?” he hissed, tightening his grip. “You better hope there are no similar incidents in the future, and don’t try anything, because this is not a game, it’s not Fox River and I’ve got nothing to lose anymore. If you mess with me again, I won’t hesitate to do what I should, and know that...” he paused, trying to control his voice. “The grave that will contain your miserable pile of bones will always look too little deep.” he finished, before letting him go.
Bagwell fixed his shirt, taking a step back and forcing a laugh.
“Oh come on, Pretty, I was just jokin’. I just thought our friend here needed somethin’ to get it goin’, if you know what I mean, he don’t look so hot.” then, as quick as it had appeared on his face, the smile went away. “And then I think that history teaches us that you’re the one messin’ with me, not the contrary.” he said. He threw Scofield one last glare and one, more mocking, to Mahone, before disappearing outside the cell, blending in with the crowd of other convicts.
Alex had kept quiet.
He felt strangely happy about Michael’s arrive, and at the same time he was desperate for it.
If he wasn’t anymore in that hellish cage, then they truly still had a chance at making it.
If they still had a chance at making it, then he couldn’t spent his last days on that bed, cradled by the embrace of heroin, waiting only for the end to come.
He didn’t know what to wish for himself.
“Why did you do that?” he asked Michael, who was still looking outside.
He shrugged, then he went inside and looked straight at him.
“Don’t flatter yourself. Your head isn’t clear as I’d like, but it would’ve been even less so if you’d given in.” he explained, then passed his hands on his face and sighed. “I supposed you’re still with us, aren’t you?”
“I can’t think of any good reason to want to stay here, Michael.” he tried to joke, with little success.
He was expecting to hear him say that he couldn’t think of a good reason to take him along, but Michael kept quiet, as if he was thinking about his words and what to actually answer.
After a few seconds he put a hand on his shoulder, in a gesture that probably meant to be friendly, before standing back up.
“Try to get a grip, Alex. I’m saying this for you.”
“Then I will flatter myself.” he replied out loud, before the other one had a chance to go out the cell.
Scofield stopped, shaking his head, and even though from there he couldn’t see his face Mahone was sure that he was smiling.
“Think what you will.” he said, before leaving.
If Alex in the beginning had thought that his threat was the only thing that had taken Michael to make him a part of his plan, he was now back to the original idea he had made of him while he was chasing him throughout the States.
The boy couldn’t bear grudges, and it made him feel less willing to take advantage of this weakness of his.
He would’ve gotten a grip, he decided.
He owed it to himself, he owed it to the plan to get out of that hellhole alive.
And he owed it to Michael.
Yes. He owed it to him.